Saturday, November 4, 2017

A Guide to Physical Intimacy with the Theótokos II

There's grey at his temples,
but he smiled warmly at me today.
As I effused light,
he reflected my glow back to me.

When I speak to him,
share with him small
flashes of grace seen in tombs
or in busy streets,
his eyes ignite with a quiet flame
of understanding.

It's a humid night in Galilee,
dense clouds cover up the stars,
like the quilt that lies at the bottom
of my flour-sack-firm bed.

The moon hangs low over the olive
trees on the edge of the village,
and I pray under it as I walk back
to the small studio house on the edge of town.
Tucked behind lilac branches,
guarded by wild cats.

A small lamp lights the room,
on the bedside table
next to Joseph,
lying in the bed,
staring at the ceiling.

Without moving his eyes,
he watches as
I approach, gingerly,
unsure if his bed is mine, too.
He makes space for me,
without smiling,
his face molded by some deep emotion,
his eyes about to cry.

is it inappropriate for you to sleep here?
he balks at my question,
and bargains with a God whose
presence saturates the room
and the space between us.

The lamp runs out.
In the darkness,
he reaches his arm across
my body until it meets my hand,
which he holds, tightly.

And so we sleep.
The close, humid night
breaks into a storm.
Thunder claps,
I find shelter underneath his arm.

He squeezes my hand,
gently peels it away,
leaves the bed.
To get some water?
pray? or stretch?
I lie stiff, my arm splayed across the mattress,
thinking he is gone.
I lie cold in the sweaty night.
I cannot brook the thought of sleeping the rest of the night alone,
without his arms around me.
But he returns,
oh ye of little faith,
and takes my hand again.

When we awake,
traces of shyness and
rain-light fill the grey sky
which leaks into the room.
But his eyes meet mine—
shining without trepidation.
My hair matted from pillow sweat,
my breath dank with whatever bacteria cause morning
He kisses me—
as rain falls in a soft staccato
on the eaves beneath which
cats begin to mew in the slow sunrise.

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