In Short, a Memory of the Other on a Good Day, 2

ϰαρυάτις, Cundiff


 Watching you close to sleep,

a clay comfort, your body warm in that space 

right before midnight.


You may claim I’m too cold.

“Warm yourself before you touch me,”

you’ll say, smiling a little.


I suppose I’m some caryatid

to your earthy Minoan fire.

So I rub my hands together, on my thighs

and then again on your chest.

I want it lasting awhile or to have it over and over.


In those nocturnal pauses,

my crawling towards you as you start to sleep.

You move a bit, an invitation to that space of

baked earth, your body newly comfortable.

And when I match my breasts

to rise and fall with your dark chest

our bodies curled as fronds 

and all the silence breathing around us.

The distance of rank and station falls away.


It is almost too much for a woman

with that sound of hide-clad feet against the earth

to take, repeatedly to man’s skin.

Where mine is soft, you are hard,

your line for my curve as our shapings 

pressing together 

their own breathing, their difference.