I wake up cold, I who Prospered through dreams of heat Wake to their residue, Sweat, and a clinging sheet. My flesh was its own shield: Where it was gashed, it healed. I grew as I explored The body I could trust Even while I adored The risk that made robust, A world of wonders in Each challenge to the skin. I cannot but be sorry The given shield was cracked, My mind reduced to hurry, My flesh reduced and wrecked. I have to change the bed, But catch myself instead Stopped upright where I am Hugging my body to me As if to shield it from The pains that will go through me, As if hands were enough To hold an avalanche off.
It was your birthday, we had drunk and dined
Half of the night with our old friend
Who'd showed us in the end
To a bed I reached in one drunk stride.
Already I lay snug,
And drowsy with the wine dozed on one side.
I dozed, I slept. My sleep broke on a hug,
Suddenly, from behind,
In which the full lengths of our bodies pressed:
Your instep to my heel,
My shoulder-blades against your chest.
It was not sex, but I could feel
The whole strength of your body set,
Or braced, to mine,
And locking me to you
As if we were still twenty-two
When our grand passion had not yet
My quick sleep had deleted all
Of intervening time and place.
I only knew
The stay of your secure firm dry embrace.