Aubade

By Gianmarc Manzione
Originally published in Inkwell 27 (2010): 117-118.

Now that the night is a smudge
on your cheek, and the light that scrolls the room to color

the dream you’re curled in is tangled in your hair,
your leg locked tight around me invites

no suspicion of the brightening dawn,
its arrival packaged in shadows

that loiter a while in this room and withdraw
to the day’s painted edges,

leaving us wrapped in yesterday’s
perfume, its mouthful of melon

and lilac under your ear.
And if morning dissolves our sleep

so lightly as to settle on an eyelash,
if it nudges us into our lives

with the furtive motions of a boy
who waits at the door to wrap a chilled corsage

around his prom date’s wrist,
it is still no less resolved in its meaning

that we are fugitive tenants
of the borrowed hour,

that when we rise we rise
forever into the tasks we’ve tethered our lives to.

But when you kiss the finger I press
against the split plum of your mouth,

and the suit assembled and hooked on a knob
the night before is left to hang there,

the slip of my hand inside your gown
measures a minor defiance

we’re governed by—the sweep of your navel
across my waist, my closed lips

pinned to the hollow of your temple—
unhurried gestures that arrange our greed.