The Christmas Kiss that Wasn’t Mine

For two months

I’d waited for you-

Adrift for a time from

The mere sensation of even

A stranger’s touch-

Not knowing it was you,

Of course,

But for that longed for warmth

To envelope me.

How funny

And how easy

You became my Christmas present-

Mon cadeau.

My only gift had been a self-bought

Over-sized,

Under-priced

Tatty jumper

And then you arrived-

Dropped yourself at my table

In your yellow rain-coat

With slightly drunk,

Tear-filled eyes-

Lonely for your lover

Who’d flown home to family.

You’d been abandoned

For three days,

Or so you thought-

Till you were in my arms

Amid a darkening street

In The Marais

And each kiss goodbye,

That started as a cordial bisou,

Seemed never quite enough

And your hands-

Finding their way easily inside my clothing-

Felt only teased

By what they had not yet

Touched.

I wanted to take you home-

My hotel-called-home,

With it’s corner balcony that hid

All but the tip of Notre Dame

And my pillows-

Like feather-filled lozenges

That enticed no sleep,

But my concierge had other ideas-

Even on Christmas night

No guests meant no guests,

However cold it was outside

And however innocent

We attempted to look

While the imprint of your lips

Burnt away on my neck.

And so I found myself

On the red sofa

Of your Les Halles living room

Amid your cat and dog,

With His scent everywhere-

Upon the delightfully pillow-like pillows I slept on

And in the painters nightshirt

You dressed me in,

Later on,

When the kisses stopped

And the dawn’s cold air

Dropped by.

We had nothing in common-

Not even a language-

But we were both alone

Amid a city of fairy lights

And family affairs

And what else mattered.

I awoke each night

As you stroked the hair from my face

With your architectural hands-

Your eyes pouring into me-

Looking, perhaps,

For a deeper meaning

Or some forgivable

Justification

But there was nothing

But our basic needs.

Even as you suggested to stay

In contact-

You knew my eyes

Saw your sophomoric lies

And twisted attempts

At half-truths-

Trying to clutch onto something

New and different

In the midst of the complacency

You’d created around you.

There was nothing more

Than two boys

And three nights,

So much shared in silence-

The inevitable not needing a voice.

I waved you goodbye

That last morning

Inside your age-old building,

On your spiraled staircase,

Half a floor below you

With your scent covering me-

Like a blanket

That’s never quite big enough

To stay wrapped in

Forever,

And your cat stated back at me-

Questioning me through half-closed,

Sleep-filled,

Feline eyes,

Sensing the betrayal of the situation

Which she had slept through most of

And I was walking away from.

Behind your green eyes and blond hair

You wondered

How I could mean

So much

In so short a time.

Was it minutes later until his return-

Did you wash the sheets?

Did you hold him

As if he were me

In that bed,

Beneath the darkness

Where we once found each other

And took pleasure in the taste?

Did the cat snarl out the affair

Before you

Or did I dream it all-

The three nights,

The two boys

One brown,

The other blond

And the swift sweet unwrapping

Of mon Cadeau?

photo-41

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