Slice open the globe of night and inside is 1:00 a.m., sitting in the halo of the kitchen table lights, the line of glass shades reflected in the mirrors of window around me. I saw a big moon out the east windows after dinner, imagining the glow that would fill the fields all night, snow reflections of a softer light, the night brilliance I used to play in when I was younger. A full moon after a snow storm meant late night skiing, long shadows trailing us, pockets of darkness in the wrinkles of land we crossed unfolding into light as we skied into them.
Now I fall asleep just after we’ve cleaned up from dinner, the early rising and long day tugging me into bed. But tonight that didn’t last, the long dark – less than a week before it starts to transform – felt like a weight on me when I awoke. I got up into the stillness of a house that’s been full of extra people for weeks, everyone asleep right now, the boots piled by the door finally drying, snow mud streaking the tiles.
David and I fall asleep spooned around each other. “Big spoon or little spoon?” our kids ask about people they know, couples mostly, or pairs of people. In their relationship, who is the big spoon, who is little? Or who is the hugger, who the huggee?
Does that matter, as long as the bodies fit together? “You always come back to the body,” my friend Mimi said to me once decades ago, in a poetry workshop. Once again I’d brought a poem that had some body awareness in it. I’m in my body so fully so much of each day, I wasn’t surprised by what she said, but it wasn’t something I’d noticed in my own poems. Then I wrote this:
Back to the Body
A sickle of moon
on the slice of brook
through bare oaks –
cup of sky
cup of water
our bodies cupped together
when I return to bed.
Now the moon has traveled halfway across the sky, into the western windows and the yard is silver, the far horizons of trees and silo all visible, flecks of ice in the snow sparking. It’s almost as bright as some recent days have been.