(Image by Rikard Karl-ludvig Lindstedt)
This morning I spent a while reading poems by Pablo Neruda, which can be quite beautiful on love, but are mostly about dying. Today, I wanted to find a poem that was devoid of darkness.
So I searched for love poems, and found mostly the ones about eyes and ears and skin and hands, all yearning to be touched or seen. Reading them led me on a chase for a poem that could speak of my awakening this morning, curled on my side, both of my hands wrapped in the single one of someone else—the right curled around a thumb, the left cradled in a palm. I never even noticed, in sleeping, how I was all bound up.
But nothing satisfied until I came upon this poem by Chungmi Kim, a poet born in South Korea who currently lives in the United States.
In all of its simplicity, it captures everything about my mornings, when I stay at home to work, and can sleep a bit later than the hand that withdraws—the drifting in and out of sleep, the way the bed feels when I roll into the traces of someone else’s warmth, the noises that remind me that I’m not yet alone, the silence and beauty of a kitchen, bathed in sun, when I finally get up.
It’s a poem for being in love when you wake up on a fall morning.
Being in Love
BY CHUNGMI KIM
Awakened from a dream, I curl up
and turn. The roses on the dresser
smile and your words bloom.
The red roses for Valentine’s Day.
Like in a film
thoughts of you unfold
moment by moment.
I vaguely hear
the sound of your spoon scooping cereal
the water stream in the shower
the buzzing noise of your electric razor
like a singing of cicada.
Your footsteps in and out of the bedroom.
Your lips touching my cheek lightly.
And the sound of the door shutting.
In your light
I fall asleep again under the warm quilt
happily like a child.
on the kitchen counter I find a half
grapefruit carefully cut and sectioned.
Such a loving touch is a milestone
for my newly found happiness.