March 19, 2007

When You Are Sleeping

"Unseen by them, she kissed the bride's forehead, smiled upon the Prince, and rose up with the other daughters of the air to the rose-red clouds that sailed on high." - Hans Christian Andersen, "The Little Mermaid"

I like to visit you
when you are sleeping,
and putter comfortably
around your home,
drinking tea
from your old scratched coffee mug,
touching everything
you've touched that day.

I like to come to you
when you are sleeping,
and blow softly on your forehead,
as though you are a restless child,
to make you dream of lovely things -
mermaids, and flying horses
and monsters you've already slain.

Sometimes, when your face has gone smooth
and I know that you will sleep till morning,
I slip beneath your blanket
like an errant shadow. Sometimes,
you smile in your sleep,
and I pretend it's because you know I'm there.

I watch the sun appear outside
your window. Its rays absorb me slowly.
I can see my flesh and blood and skin
trickling up, like dust motes, toward the rose-red light.
When I am nothing more
than pulse and morning mist and vaguest recollections,
I press myself closer against you
and melt away between your breaths.

It's bittersweet to watch you wake from outside
your window. But do you know
that shimmer on your eyelashes, that makes you blink
just before you open your eyes?
Those are the fading particles
of my kiss.

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