Mature Restraint

She asked me over to her house for lunch;
I had an open schedule, so I went.
We ate and talked a while, and then she said
She had to work.  Me, too, I said.
She didn't come behind me to the door,
So when I turned to say goodbye and make
A light remark about mature restraint

She stood on tiptoe, hands behind her head,
Holding up her heavy hair, and ah,
It seemed that just by staring I could feel
The wet appeal her skin had always held,
As if her eager pores could open, too;
I felt again the heated ease of her
From all the way across the living room.
I wanted then and there to make her arch
Within my arms, and tremble again, calling
Out together as we never had before.

Her smallest moves to balance on her toes
Seemed throbs and pulses pounding in my head
And clenching in my chest.  I felt my shirt
Against my skin, and shivered as the fragile
Summer air blew a wisp of hair
Across her face, then tickled me to sweat
As, softly, it caressed me with my clothes.

I closed my eyes and swayed.  I thought I'd drown
In hard blood beating hot behind my nose;
I hung there in the dense and clotted air
And, blind and breathless, heard the shush of feet
Across the floor, and heard her say my name.

She gently touched my chest, and I could breathe.
I smelled her wild and spicy cedar scent --
O, it had been so long, so good so long
Ago, that I was stiff and still so close to her,
Afraid that I could never love her now
As well as I recalled I'd loved her then.
We stared, and memory seemed to be enough
And absolutely not enough at all.

I smiled, and groped behind me for the door.
I made my small remark about restraint.
She tentatively smiled, and said goodbye.
Then, balanced on that long unbroken crest,
She stood there, just inside, and watched me go.

Marcus Bales

If you've any comments on this poem, Marcus Bales would be pleased to hear from you.