In the dead of night I reach for your hand beneath mounds of covers,
my breath almost visible in the winter’s cold.
I stroke your wedding band, a circle of platinum, securely rubbing its cool metal,
fully aware of the distance between its arrival and now.
A warm southern breeze sweeps over me as I lay my hand over yours and take in the rhythms of your breath.
Wiggling my toes in remembered sand, I succumb to memory as your inhales and exhales recall the crashing waves of vows which transported us from surfside to this inside, here.
An ivory dress, a crisp suit, bare feet, the horizon, lifted chins, the absence of time or future.
We were thinner then, unweighted by a life which neither of us was even half-aware had a distance so fleeting no memory would be long enough or deep enough to narrow.
My ankle reaches for yours. Draping my leg across the inches that separate, I longingly navigate the covers with my toes, seeking the warmth and softness of the top of your foot.
My ankle descends, and for a moment, there is contact. Arm still reaching, hand atop hand, I am part X, part Y as I splay hand and foot, effortfully longing to return you to my seaside if only for a moment.
There is a grumble, an arch, a pivot, a rolling away, a deep sleep exhale.
And then a back.
Abandoned, left upward facing and sprawled, I am jarred from memory back into winter.
Receding into a C, I am nearly at the beginning again, conserving the warmth of my own body, receding in my mind to a future when my reach will be unmet by your warmth, not by a turned back but by the absence of one.
Your ring will be in a memory chest, your soft feet sanded away, your breath with my memories of waves crashing. Or, my ring, my feet, my breath.
Aghast at this sudden vision of everlasting winter, I inch my full body in your direction, seeking the fullest body warmth – belly to back, knee to back of knee, lips to back of neck –
which consoles, if
Deirdre Fagan is a widow and mother of two, and has published creative work in Connotation Press, Grey Sparrow Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, Poetry Quarterly, The Blue Hour, Bartleby Snopes, and Boston Literary Magazine, among others. She is currently completing a collection of short stories and working on a memoir.