I can recall my son’s sleepy hair
soft from his blanket in early mornings
and warm where I press my hand
as he twitches lightly in a dream –
but I was there. I was there.
A trail of sunlight across the floor
is invitingly warm to my cold hand.
I lie there along this radiant path
that will be gone in an hour.
Seduction. Conquest. And then a lovely sleep.
Fast and flimsy sex and still not
able to sleep, but she has fallen
under the covers to the other world.
I walk in the cold, dark hallway
where every step I take echoes twice.
I was reading about Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who prepared the first edition of Emily Dickinson’s poems in 1890. He wrote to his co-editor: “One poem only I dread a little to print – that wonder ‘Wild Nights,’ – lest the malignant read into it more than that virgin recluse ever dreamed of putting there. . . . Yet what a loss to omit it! Indeed it is not to be omitted.”
That comment made me look at the poem again and think Emily – that virgin recluse – fantasizing in her room one night when she couldn’t sleep.
Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Futile – the Winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor –
Tonight – With Thee!