for Carol

I put my hand on the small of your back.
Your back is warm, and so familiar.
I wrap my arm around you a little tighter,
stretch my arm around you a little farther.

The wrist brace that tries to ease
the effects of carpal tunnel begins to fail.
Still, I do not move the hand,
which is a happy hand, pain increasing
as does the warmth of your back,
as does the touch of your smooth familiar curve.

But after not at all enough time
I have to move my hand. Instead,
I inch the rest of my body closer to you.
In the soul-touch of my wakeful memory
I sense the open-window fragrance of your hair.

Then the room is dim-lit behind shutters.
You ease out of bed, but I lie back
and feel that my hand is better now,
that your back, moving away,
is still warm and familiar—and that
it is time to get our coffee brewing.

We’ll have a light breakfast after a while,
a toasted bagel maybe, blueberry, or cinnamon.

We’ll ignore the cable news as usual these days,
read the Times, and as usual, brace for a reek
of the day’s fetid rumors from the metaverse.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of eight books of poetry, his latest book, The Dun Book, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last fall. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.