Saturday, September 09, 2006


It's not always bird song. Sometimes it's traffic on the street below, the first gray light reflecting off stone façades. The fevers of the night extinguished, the sleeper wakes but doesn't stir, eyes watching thin curtains flick in the breeze. The air is close and heavy and sparse dust passes through the haze. The other drifts on for a while, limbs uncovered, a silent, dreamless sleep.

There is always one who leaves and one who is left alone. One who rises at last, bestowing a kiss on lips still drowsy and numb, dressing without hurry, crossing the floorboards to the window and looking down at the rows of trees, the passers by in their coats and dark hats. One whose head lies deep and centered on the pillow, awake now but too exhausted still to unfurl the fingers of a lifeless hand.

No one speaks. A door is shut behind, footfalls descend the stairs, and they are parted. A cool wind chills the lingerer's uncovered shoulders, or perhaps the heat of the day begins to fill the room, the curtains slacken and fall to rest. Their destinies resume their separate courses; the pale eyes of the one who lies in bed close again, the cafés open, the women walk their dogs.