If we didn’t know the words for, say, a body uncoiling
the way a bouquet of herbs might after being untied
inside a pair of hands before you      or      the scent of lavender
lingering in your hair from a night spent lost on sets
of cobblestone streets. As you rise in the morning, bare-bodied
beneath the blinds and their filtering light—

                                                            If we didn’t question
the roil a pattern of starlings makes as it flies across the meadow
you’d call affection—the envelope where each fraction I gave you
kept cloaked between your favorite books—

I’d still look for omens everywhere. Eventually the fog
would give way to a calm mist, the faint, chromatic reminder
that the palpable remains palpable even when it’s gone.

Did you expect life to be kind to you? Did you expect fanfare
or laughter or comfortable solitude? I’ll do everything I can
not to disturb you, later, when I come across you reading in the den.

Eric Stiefel is a poet living in St. Louis, Missouri, where he currently serves as fellow in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis.

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1 Response to Aubade

  1. Absolutely lovely! The interplay of the physical world and what the mind makes of it is accomplished with excellent realism.

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