The night that we laid hand to hand,
(our fingers barely brushing)
the first thing that I noticed was
(the space between our skin and)
the way we felt against each other
(with the sand between our palms)−
not unlike waves rolling over and into
(the weathered spaces of)
each other so smoothly, you could only think of
(another woman’s hand prints against)
our breathing, sounding so much like the crash of waves.

In the dim light of my bedroom lamp,
(my eyes shut tight against the image of your mouth)
I always thought your breath smelled like roses.
(There never seemed to be any choice)
So I wrapped my body around you, and
(when my thorns pricked your sides)
our limbs formed a cocoon.
(My body rejected you from the inside out but)
Your breath whispered my name so lovingly that
(there was never any choice, so)
when you asked me, I told you that I was content.

I wonder if you’ll ever know that
(I was always cold under your sheets so)
while you were sleeping I
(never could lie still. Instead my breathing)
traced the lines of your expression,
(hoping you would dream of hands)
enticing smiles from lips sealed shut by sleep
(and doubt),
wondering if you’d stir and wake if I
(could close my eyes against the wind or)
tucked myself beneath your arm.

Originally published in Spectrum Literary Magazine