I remember the loneliness clearly, she told me.
Twenty years alone and she still sensed
his touch, felt the sudden velocity
of her body when they kissed at bedtime,
the electric frenzy. We sleep and wake
like animals, not understanding the coiled
energy, the turbulence of love.
Just outside the arms of the Milky Way
a dwarf irregular galaxy twists the sheets
of the universe into bunches. You sleep
next to me, breathing in the dark.
Each time I lie down with you I kiss
the fear into submission. Sometimes
I remember my widowed grandmother
and can’t sleep as trees scrape against
the wind. Sometimes I dream I have walked
into grief while night circles the vacant landscape,
stars unfurling like static until dawn breaks
their hold. When we wake, I tell you I am
fraught with doubt so you will hold me
Later I explain that supernova explosions
trigger star formation. I show you the photo
of a dwarf galaxy, the starburst at the edge
of the black nothing that surrounds everything.
Twenty years of turbulence and I’m still
suspicious, but you kiss me like nothing
is wrong until you fall asleep again,
until the dark coils against my fatigue
and I dream, finally, of infinity.
Christine Klocek-Lim received the 2009 Ellen La Forge Memorial Prize in poetry. She has four chapbooks: Ballroom - a love story (Flutter Press), Cloud Studies (Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks), How to photograph the heart (The Lives You Touch Publications), and The book of small treasures (Seven Kitchens Press). Her poems have appeared in Nimrod, OCHO, Diode, Riffing on Strings: Creative Writing Inspired by String Theory and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthologies and was a finalist for 3 Quarks Daily’s Prize in Arts & Literature. She is editor of Autumn Sky Poetry.