He asked me how long he had been asleep,
but I wasn’t counting the minutes.
I was listening to his struggling breaths
fighting in vain to relax into an effortless rhythm.
The last thing he said before slipping into silence was,
“I’m so tired,”
So why not just let him sleep?
I could be still for as long as it took
with his chest against mine
the beat of his heart so forceful I could not hear my own.
Stretching my leg down the bare length of his body
with subtle care not to interrupt
this much needed rest he wouldn’t let himself have on purpose.
It didn’t matter how long because I would be still
as long as he needed me to lay with him
in that mid-morning peace.
I thought about the kittens curling up together
for warmth and for comfort-
this is what animals like us do naturally.
I thought of weekends at The Lake,
afternoons when we weren’t allowed in the cottage
while adults were napping.
In the back of my pubescent dirty mind –
(I had already watched soaps with Grandma after school
We had already discovered Mom’s Playgirl magazines) –
I assumed nap was a code word for fuck,
that sleeping together meant sleeping together.
You can’t fool me with your biblical knowledge.
But maybe they really were just tired,
up too late around the bonfire the night before
maybe even hungover,
not quite ready for the hair the dog.
But probably, it was both.
A break from the work of landscaping and barbecuing
and a little afternoon delight to relieve the stress,
climaxing into a shower of Zzzzzzzs
a slip into sleeping serenity for as long as it might last.
No need to set an alarm
or count the minutes.