Before the Deployment – Jehanne Dubrow

He kisses me before he goes. While I,
still dozing, half-asleep, laugh and rub my face

against the sueded surface of the sheets,
thinking it’s him I touch, his skin beneath

my hands, my body curving in to meet
his body there. I never hear him leave.

But I believe he shuts the bedroom door,
as though unsure if he should change his mind,

pull off his boots, crawl beneath the blankets
left behind, his hand a heat against my breast,

our heart rates slowing into rest. Perhaps
all good-byes should whisper like a piece of silk—

and then the quick surprise of waking, alone
except for the citrus ghost of his cologne.

Isn’t this lovely, in a sad sort of way? A dear friend of mine is coming back this summer and, for whatever reason, the whole war bit’s been on my mind more than usual lately. I love that this is from the woman’s perspective, the man she loves tiptoeing out the door even though he’ll be gone for who-knows-how-long. There’s not enough written from the perspective of the one left behind.

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