Under the Perseids (draft 3)

You woke me from a dream in which I skipped
stones on a creek, or was trying to, but with rocks too broad or jagged to tap
lightly across the water’s surface the way skipping stones should.
You brushed my nose with a strand of my hair and shook me
so I wouldn’t miss the meteors.

The blanket you took from our bed wasn’t thick enough
to keep dew from chilling my back through the cloth. I fitted
a fist in the curve of my spine. The damp on my fingers echoed
the wet stones I held while sleeping. When we tilted our heads

upwards the sky was clouds, a soft gradient of grey, with small black smudges
through which a handful of stars shone like pins and needles piercing a cushion.
Instead of waiting for the clouds to roll, reveal the faint
band of the Milky Way and the trailing meteors, I watched you.

We had hoped to watch pieces of the sky fall, little
lights that I imagined might burn like the sparks from a firecracker.
But the clouds weren’t listening when the newscaster told us
of the peaking shower, the hundred meteors an hour easily seen in dark, clear
places like rented cabins in the mountains.

Instead of looking for star-trails, I took you in; your neck
turning back and forth as if to find some corner of the sky overlooked,
your chest expanding under your cotton shirt, your fingers
arcing gently against the lines of my upturned palm.
You laughed when you mistook a firefly for your first shooting star.

Itty bitty changes.


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