The longest night of the year

You say I make you nervous;
I slide away from the tepid splash
Of that morphine touch.
Fleeing into the next room,
I know it will only be temporary.

At this, the end of the shortest day,
The electric lights blast out
In defiance of the infant winter chill;

We square off in opposite corners
Nervousness crystallizing into fear,
But of yourself or me
I can’t tell.

Somehow our bodies still bend like this,
Over and around and under until it becomes
Something we joke about with thin laughter,
Willow limbs stubbornly refusing to
Break—

Around three
      the night shatters
And I have to let go
So I follow a trickle of love
      out onto the sleeping sidewalks
And down to the river

Knowing you won’t know how to follow.

You dream this into existence
      every time we talk
Against a background of a demi-monde
And an androgynous half-love
      you can manipulate
As you see fit,

The one-word perspiration on your upper lip.

The night has been building in this house,
Constructing your excuses, my responses
Cobbling together something resembling happiness
For you to feel familiar in your insecurity
As you plot your map through lonely winter.