For the first coat
she started at the house end,
he at the garden gate.
They worked towards each other
meeting fondly in the middle.
For the second coat
they began in the middle
and worked outwards; he abstracted,
murmuring, tweaking his phone
with a painty forefinger.
By the shrubbery he put down his brush
and the garden gate groaned, clicked shut.
Now the tin offers her its tedious advice
For a perfect finish, apply a third coat.
The days pass. The paint hardens.