past the blue-faced gods in their shrines among the trees,
between banks so steep it is like being in a cave
with mounds of prehistoric pottery at intervals.
Your hands, your lips. The soft white wool of my shawl
wound over us both in that tantalizing journey
toward each other. We enter a still space
as if the Himalayas were gauze and had parted
to let us in, as from the bus station
the silent streets we follow steeply up
lead under the lightning sky to the hotel, where they tinker
with the hot water heater but finally leave us alone.
You spit on your hand before entering me, saying
this first time will be fast, it will not be slow. I know this.
Afterword, the monkeys thumping over the tin roof,
the calm in your eyes that are the color of tender ferns
that grow beside streams flowing icy
from the highest mountains.
Ever since I first read this poem in Words Overflown by Stars (Creative Writing Instruction and Insight from the Vermont College MFA Program), it has stuck with me. To me, this is the very definition of a love poem. Love is felt, not spoken, at the end, looking into his eyes. I can feel everything.