Poetry Corner | Issue 11

A Haunting

What night was it?
Perhaps the tenth or eleventh,
I was used to the heaviness
of your sleeping body
after all, generations
have slept beside each other.
It is nice to have
just another piece of evidence
of my humanity.
Our ancestors knew the shapes
in which to bend to hold,
but not too tightly maybe not
quite touching,
room for the bellows of the chest,
for the twitches of whatever
you are dreaming of doing,
while I too, dreaming,
am unaware of your twitching.

But this night,
I am awoken.
Your breathing,
already as familiar as if
I lived by the ocean,
surges and recedes
within your body,
and tonight seems vaguely sinister.
I sit up, your face is illuminated in the
light of the bedside clock.
A mere month ago,
there was no log of a body
that could roll over,
crushing me in my sleep.
Nobody had the power to
wake me by mumbling
“Sardines and Jam, please."
I try to remember exactly what it was like
when the other side of the bed was
just a cool place I could roll into.
I try to remember how I held
my body when you
did not warm it along one side.
I sit awake and away from you,
blanket up to my chin,
and exactly half an hour later,
you stir as if I have called you
by name, blink at me.
I think it frightens you too, to see me there,
looking at you,
a mutual mutable presence.

This article first appeared in Issue 11, 2017.
Posted 1:27pm Sunday 14th May 2017 by Mel Ansell.