July 07, 2006

When the Fever Breaks

With the top sheet waist-high, and the quilt whose pattern they know in the dark, they lie listening to the rain. Not talking. They have said so much these weeks, these months, and so much of it wrong.

The rain like a cold pack on the forehead of the house. Never wanting it to stop. He remembers the warning pock of rain on a tent in the north woods when they were first together. She thinks of her environmental CD, how it sounds so much like real rain but doesn’t smell like it through the open windows.

Not talking, except only, “I’m going to get a glass of water.”

“Get me one too?”


Gulping cold water in the dark. Reaching for the night table, putting the glass on it blindly. Feeling for wet spots on the sheet before they move together.

Hands locking lightly, at kiss level. He thinks of animals nesting under a mound of leaves, warming each other as they sink into sleep. She thinks of pioneers in a log house far from any neighbor. A private waterdance on the roof, just for them.

They remember each other’s smell from long ago. Noses buried in each other’s hair. Breathing. The pattering on the roof louder, softer. His finger strokes the rim of her ear, not knowing whether she’s asleep or awake. He will stay awake admiring how well she sleeps. Trying to touch her as much as possible without waking her. His ear on the pillow hearing his heart beat fast. Listening through the minutes as it slows down.