Winter Conference

Almost a year
since you fell in love with her.

Even longer since you welcomed her
into your most private, secret dreams,
where her legs part beneath you
as she waits, beautiful and naked, for you
to fill her milky center
with your abundance and skill.

Now you sit beside her on the plane,
and as usual, she laughs at your jokes
as sincerely as she talks of Bach and Szymborska
and the ability of certain music and certain poetry
to lift one away from one’s self,
which is why you love her
more wholly than your wife,
who you imagine at home reading People Magazine
or buying a new pair of shoes.

You sign your name and take your key
and can’t believe your luck
when you hear the apologetic concierge explain
that her reservation has been lost,
or perhaps, the woman suggests,
the company you both work for
simply failed to book two rooms.

Calmly, you accept the news
that there is no vacancy, the hotel is booked.
The next two nights must be shared,
it can’t be helped.

The king size bed is large, you think.
Too large.  You wish it were a twin,
wide enough for only one body,
or rather one on top of another.

You are grateful there is no couch,
no need to chivalrously resign yourself to it
after dinner,
which is made more delicious
by her company, her smile,
her questions about your childhood.

You could not tire of her,
you convince yourself, as she showers
in the bathroom, the door closed,
the steam rising as you consider
relieving your ache before she comes
out with her dark hair wrapped
in a clean white towel.

Instead, you consider the pattern of luck today,
and the way she looks into you
as she listens
to the stories you love to tell.

She already called her husband,
said goodnight to her child,
told them both she loved them
without ever mentioning your name,
the shared room, the single bed.

You are disappointed when she emerges,
not by the red nightgown,
but that she is wearing it at all,
that the night might pass
without the music of her breath
beside your ear.

Do you mind if I read, she asks,
and you watch her
as she pulls a book from her bag,
and as she lifts her bare legs, smoothed
with scented lotion, into bed.

Closing your eyes, you wonder
if she’ll ask you to scoot over.
You know you’re taking your half
out of the middle,
hoping to brush against her,
hoping she’ll roll next to you in the night,
decide to touch you, taste you,
open herself to your desires.

You take off your t-shirt
and lay back down, your fingers laced
behind your head.
You want her to feel you watching her,
pull her attention toward your skin.

I love you, you want to say,
after she begins to read out loud.
It’s a poem about love
and you wonder if she believes it-
before you realize she has written it.
A tear, just then, disappears into her pillow.

I love you, she says out loud,
and you believe her,
and you watch
as she turns out the light.

DeMaris Gaunt
11-19-11

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