I wake up happily beside your back,
Its naked shoulderblades as near as dusk.
They sway ever so lightly as you breathe—
A motion imperceptible if I
Didn't know so well the rhythms of your body.
You’re sleeping; I can hear the whisk of breath
From out your nose—the quiet rush of warmth
Warming your upper lip (perhaps a bead
Of moisture lingers there)—it sounds just like
The sighing of a distant breeze! So quiet....
To think that sound could be so quiet, and yet
Be heard! Or is it my imagination?
Perhaps I am so rapt that I imagine....
Your hair is knotted on the pillow, tangled
In piles tickling my lips, which kiss
The strands in bunches (since their counterparts
Upon your face—though longing to be kissed—
Are turned away and inaccessible).
Clichéd it is, but....I inhale your hair.
It is a kind of secret, guilty pleasure,
Which I permit myself occasionally.
And then I touch your back, a timid finger
Afraid to mar the skin, which looks as if
It’s made of fairy-tales solidified.
How can there be such symmetry in life?
—Except....yes, I see an auburn fleck
On one side of your back, right near your neck.
It’s almost hidden by the hair; to touch
It I must move the tousled mass aside
—Though slowly, carefully. You mustn’t wake.
Who knows what dreams are passing underneath
Your darting eyes (for surely they are darting,
Bird-like, as I have seen them do before)?
Oh, how I’d like to see your face right now!
A glimpse only....perhaps of just the dimple
That bunches up the right side of your face
(It’s deeper than the other, prettier).
Or maybe just your lips—or your eyes,
Those sapphires that I sometimes dream about.
But I must lie here restlessly, in rapt
Anticipation of the moment when
You’ll wake. To look into your droopy eyes,
To be the being they see first, as sleep
Still clings to them.... Your sluggish smile will be
The answer to my expectant grin. And then
Together we will sit outside, beneath
The dogwood tree, and watch the setting sun.