Judith Nelson, Our Country’s Son, 1962, 24X32
Sometimes I watch you sleep
after you have fallen into bed, and my hands have touched you, your Saturday smile fades as your head falls to the side, and your blue eyes flicker
I do not know what you’re dreaming, but you look so perfect naked,
your mouth open but not thirsty, or speaking.
Your eyes are closed now, but I’m still drowning
following the trace of white light peeking through the space from the door glowing on your skin.
I kiss your seashell ear, your chest while it rises and falls with your breath, and I swear I taste salt.
Its good to know peace, to look at you while you sleep, to know you this way, the way no other woman has known you, not worried, or wounded but weightless
You roll over, your back turned away, and I curl to the shape of your body like a shadow and feel your heat.
Watching you sleep, I sigh a little deeper, feeling myself slowly sink
Deeper and deeper, my breath starting to match yours,
My eyes closing, to a place where I am with you but not with you.
We are the same
when suddenly, you awaken,
Roll over you whisper, and I do,
As you turn yourself to face my back,
Your arms wrapping themselves around me like the sun,
Your body, my body,
Floating in the dark.