Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stillness of Esme
lying between us in bed, in as deep a darkness as this
communality with street lights allows.
This is the profile of a girl calmed after a bad dream

Long neck.
Golden (her word), hair swooped aristocratically over a high forehead.
Tiny nose, delicate and
maybe--eyes still open? 
Her breathing has slowed from its earlier panicked pace.

Is she thinking and not sleeping?

That's when I realize,
grateful it's her, not him:  
This is the difference between girls and boys.
(I generalize here for the sake of sleep).

Simon could never lie so still even at 4:45 in the morning.
Deeply sleepy comes out in him as
Hilarious, if only to him.
Sideways smile slips out a happy “No,” tone tilting upwards at the end of the word
to show he means it but it’s not personal. 

Instead of sleep he would offer us his great corporeality, roiling waves of legs
swinging down up CRASH on the bed
Heavy head seesawing its turn to do the same.

Ouch! Everyone says, eventually.
Even him, at the backdoor of tears, as it gets 
way too late to be up so long, Love.

But Esme.
Her inner life as strong as his legs.
Esme’s silence, her Esmeness
maddening during the day when questions go unacknowledged
a not quite guileless look up, surprised, What?
is the what which allows this quiet form, this elegance to lie between us in our bed.
Now in the deep dark early morning I remember:
She has her own world we don’t know about
the one we hoped she would create.

I fail first, fall asleep.
She touches me reassuringly on the leg
as I drift off.  

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