Ritual: The Last Morning

This ritual we have formed out of
a mere week or so of repetitions:
you, rising from the bed, leaving
a pocket of warm air behind,
into which I tumble, stretching an arm
out over emptied space.
back into slumber,
into this dream of you that replaces
the you lost to the morning,
I am barely aware
of that moment that
your return; you appear
as light pushing aside the curtains. You
return to this vacancy
smelling of toothpaste, and I receive
your dropped kisses
into my drowsiness:
you merge with the dream-you
and I kiss you both.

The breaking of ritual
is a blasphemy. Today, I
return from the bathroom with the smell
of soap on my face. Carefully,
I perch on the edge of the bed
                          and watch
the angle of your neck
as it connects with the body hidden
beneath the blanket. Your face
is a dream, and I cannot make out
whom it sees.

You cannot
help but awaken,
and I fall out of my Eden:
this bed, point of origins, the loss of which
I cannot forget. I re-enter a
barren land where, nightly, I
pray for absolution: Lord, bring me
back to this time, this place,
where ritual held meaning for two solitary beings.
Lord, let me slip,
whole, back into this warm, clean dream
where I ask not, want not, would not
call out your name.

22 March 1994
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Sylvia Chong (schong@hooked.net)