Niddah

Sometimes we break
the rules.
Little accidents,
a slight touch,
hairsbreadth
electricity,
interpersonal
space oddity.

These are the days when
John Donne’s flea
shares more
physical intimacy
than you
and me.

After days of almost-embraces
and close-call kisses,
we settle in to routines
of hidden wars
killing desires
with frigid
desert plateaus
setting boundaries
of avoidance.

But from across the room,
from a swing on the high arch
over treetops in a park
on a spring day in Canarsie,
from the back of a stinking, peeling,
rickety wagon crossing
the winter wastelands
of the Russian steppes,
from the baked sands
of the Judean hills at sunset,
or from the corner seat
on the blue couch,
your laughter
will always be
the novel that
breaks the ice
of my heart.

A sea rages in me,
untamed waves in me,
and for all of my faith
I’ve not built a sea wall
high enough to contain
the need in me
just for that
immutably
small

space

between us
to no longer
be.

Despite this pressure,
we reef the sail
we hold fast
we stay the course.

But we made a deal
you and me.

You said,
“Babe, if we’re
going to do this,
we’ve got to have
some rules, some plans,
because if I’m down
deep in the icy plains
and can’t climb my way
out, I expect your hand
to be there, no matter
what days we’re counting,
no matter the way
we’re holding.”

Shivering, loving Gd
for the depth of my needs
for you and your needs for me,
I say to you,
“Babe, if we’re
going to do this,
we’re going to do this
your way, which is the only way,
which is our way,
because who am I to say differently
anyway?”

And then there was that time
that I hoped you’d need me
because Gd I needed you
just to hold me.

And you came home
and saw me,
really saw me
as only you could,
and that seeing me
was just as good
was just as deep
was just as warm
as any touch could ever be.

 

 

Slightly altered image from Flickr.