Thorpe Moeckel

Why I Go To Bed Earlier

Nothing undoes the knot behind my chest
more than watching you take off your clothes
before bed. Eyes on the floor, wall, or window
as if some swath of dust helps you remember
its the blouse Ruth left last March,
the underwear you wore to graduation,
the bra you’ll go to India in. It gets real
halfway between my bellybutton & spine,
and sometimes I lie there pretending to read,
book hardly below my eyes, your weight
balanced on one leg — a live oak — torso,
shoulder, and neck bent as your arm
reaches, your knee rises, and your thumb
peels the ripe, white fruit of your foot
out of the sock. Then, in forty watt dark,
I love your cold skin, as a wick
takes flame from a match, and gives it
time, sweet time, to burn and shine.

Thorpe Moeckel
Why I Go To Bed Earlier is from Odd Botany, (Silverfish Review Press 2002).