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written by: Christine E. Ray



Our breathing is still rapid, labored, but starting to calm.  Your hands are entwined with mine above my head.  Your lips look bruised from our passionate kisses when you lean in to kiss my lips again, then my forehead before you carefully untangle yourself from me.

I don’t know what comes next.  This is the first time that we have made love and everything is new, unfamiliar.  Our bodies are relaxed but the emotional intimacy between us is still fragile, as delicate as a globe of hand-blown glass.

You lay yourself next to me on your side, facing me.  I rotate my body toward you, now on my side as well. We are inches from each other.  I am aware that this almost feels more naked than when our bodies were joined.  I can feel the warmth coming off your body, the dampness of your skin.  Our scents mingle together in the air.  You must notice my goosebumps, my skin chilled without your enveloping warmth.  You pull the covers up to our shoulders and under the sheets you drape your leg over mine, offering me your body heat.

Your head is cradled on your bent arm.  I have never had this opportunity before to look so directly into your eyes. They are a startling blue, even in this low light, your lashes almost colorless.  Your reach out and touch my cheek, caressing it with your palm and then with the back of your hand. Your hand then moves slowly down my shoulder, brushing my arm, searching for my hand under the covers, which you clasp.

You bring my hand to your mouth and kiss my knuckles one by one.  You have not broken eye contact with me and I wonder idly what you are thinking right now but decide not to ask.  I will settle for the mystery and warmth in your eyes. Your hand again starts to travel up my arm slowly, resting on my shoulder.

I reach out and touch your face.  Your beard is surprisingly soft.  I trace your cheekbone, finally feeling at liberty to really look at you, to explore you.  There is a new knowing between us but so much we still haven’t learned yet, despite our coupling only moments ago.  I want to memorize you with my eyes, smell your skin and breath, paint you using all my senses, create muscle memory in my palms, in my lips so I will be able to recall the feel of you, the taste of you, the way you look right now in this moment.  In this after, when the rest of the world has fallen away and there is only you and I.

Christine E. Ray

Christine E. Ray

Christine E. Ray is an indie author and freelance editor who lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is the creator of the blog Brave and Reckless and Managing Editor of The Sudden Denouement Literary Collective (Blood Into Ink, Sudden Denouement, Sudden Denouement Publishing, & Whisper and the Roar) as well as Indie Blu(e). Her writing has been featured on SpillWords, fēlan poetry & visual zine, Nicholas Gagnier’s Swear to Me (2017), and his upcoming collection, All the Lonely People. Christine’s first book of poetry, Composition of a Woman, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishing in July of 2018. Her second book of poetry, The Myths of Girlhood, is scheduled for release later this year.
Christine E. Ray

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