A rented room:

dark enough for shadows to stand against

the warmth of orange light.

Us two:

up so early that night is like a hot breath

on broken sleep.


Dogs bark. (Were there crickets too?)


I move:

take soft steps across our soon-to-be-left room.

And that’s when I see you:

naked in this half light.


On autopilot,

you bend to dress,

careless of the effect.

But I, your wife,

(who, happily, messily, in real time,

have made a hundred wrestled, restless shapes

to taste your sweat and wear your face)

I stand now, startled –

moved like a new voyeur to beauty.


But this breath, this beat –

this shift to timeless in the Balkan heat-

is not cast in alabaster.

You stand straight, pull on your jeans,

move a step closer to our flight.


We kiss then, quickly, quietly.

Then soothe awake sleep-muffled girls.

And leave.


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