Aubade while I Check Your Pulse

Stephen Hundley

If you swim before the children wake
take me along. Though it is you, Folly Beach
lifer, and me, laboring behind apple-picker
strokes on my side, lagging, rolling to rest,
searching the white bottoms of your feet
until they drip from the neighbor’s dock
on the far side of this body, our two fingers
pressed into one another’s throats, breathing
the names of seconds. Counting to a minute
with our softest parts exposed while morning
launches the osprey, stirs dragon flies, soon
breaches firs to draw mist from black water
like tea, inching to cool. I feel: blood thrum
and shudder breaths beneath muscled bands.
Hard edge of the jaw. Slightly swollen lymph.
Last night, behind the foggy windshield, dry
in street clothes and over French fries, I chose
what to report. How many kicks of the vein.

© Short Édition

Stephen Hundley

Stephen Hundley is the author of The Aliens Will Come to Georgia First (University of North Georgia Press, 2022).

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