The Hug

©Judith Poole, 26 April 1997

What I remember was that our bellies met, that and being held. Not wanting to let go,
for to move back apart would be to acknowledge that we had indeed embraced. Or not
to acknowledge it. But how to pull apart with grace. An unknown, unheard of desire? Driven by shame.

Shame so deep and wide, a current flowing, fast, drawing muddy waters in its wake, leaving eddies and whirlpools.

Wakeful vigilance called for on all occasions, but particularly this one. Having slithered away from the hug, I return to let it embrace me once again.

Again the softness of bellies touching. Bouncing into each other gently. That delicious being held, feeling the imprint of arm, of hand, on my scapula, extending along upper vertebrae.

Even with my jacket on, I declare, "I will never wash my back again."

I want to melt my flesh to mark this impact, knowing almost instantly the discomfort it has caused, the discomfort I can call forth at will. At won't.

I wish it had never happened, even as I participate so remarkably in it.

Stay in the now, with the now feeling.

Oh, yes, I know. I know. But to do that? Another skill altogether.

For this embrace changes all three tenses, changes tension. I want it to be otherwise, want to take it in stride, to welcome it.

I want to disappear through the floor boards, to whisk myself magically back to the
starting point, to turn the hands of the clock back to before the embrace, or even better,
to spin them back and back in reverse, erasing the years, months, weeks, erasing the event or the series of events or the imaginary happenstance that has created this miswiring, this misfiring, this craziness, unsettledness, this perceived lack of safety that hounds me, like a dog gone wild.

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Nightmares last night. New ones.

I cannot trace them to any origin that makes sense to me.

Dreams are not obliged to unravel themselves.

Yes, I know. But unraveled they are like secrets being whispered by grown ups in
echoing antechambers of dark wood-lined rooms with high ceilings and plush carpets.

I am under attack, with oh so many enemies. Every cell cries out, the world is not a safe place. At the stroke of midnight, I will turn into a pumpkin, or retreat under a comforter.

This is Earth day. My pen, though, is disposable, and my paper milled from a tree that could do more converting my outbreath back to oxygen. Gaia, forgive me. My pen,
plastic though it may be, is the only dancing partner I have found comfort in..


Click here to read "Pansy Beds", "A Tale For Year's Ending" and "I Am A Writer".