In a nondescript hotel in East Texas, I fell
in love with a couple. There in the dim
hallway with rugs that were clean enough
but darkly patterned to hide the stains so who knows,
her back was against the wall, her arms up and around
his neck. He was bent down to kiss her, to press
his body into hers. Their bodies were fluid, two waves
not crashing but moving through each other –
I watched my friends from the other end of the hallway,
surprised, I had halted. Doesn’t another’s passion
make us want the same? They never saw me. I didn’t stay long
and stayed silent. She was not his wife, but his
love was palpable. His hands were tender not quick.
Slow not furtive That press.
I have been a witness to such passion more than once,
more than most. On a common street in Manhattan,
in a nondescript restaurant whose patrons—too young, too
childish to value discretion or quiet—spoke in loud voices
and fell drunkenly over the tables, I saw my dinner partner
through the oversized windows. The street lit by random lights.
He drew her up into his body. She was no friend of mine.
She followed me to follow him. She found him
and drew his face down to hers. They kissed in a way
that said they had kissed many times before and
perhaps it had been a long time. The kiss was long
and deep and I ate my steak au poivre bloody under sauce
and waited for them to finish, for him to come back
to the table after rushing out “to take a call.”
They never saw me watching. Didn’t even look up.
He swept her up as if his entire body longed
for a certain kind of completion. Her hair so like his mother’s
he might have cried into it. Where is the shame
in that? She was not his wife. I am not his judge.
I was on the shore, only a witness to the oceanic:
dangerous, tidal, reckless, and always.