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sleeping couple

Sometimes in the night,
I get lonely
and I miss an arm
around my waist,
his chest pressed close
to my back,
curled into
an arch of one.

I remember
when sleep touching
wasn’t optional,
but habitual;
when, if nothing else,
our feet were entangled
beneath the blankets
because we couldn’t bear
to be apart,
even in the night.

You cannot make
touching mandatory,
yet, if I would ask,
he would oblige.
But somewhere
between the asking
and the doing,
the hugging and holding
become only courtesy.
And that is even worse
than being lonely
in the night.

And so I lay,
quietly yearning
and remembering how
it once was,
because remembering
is easier to bear
than knowing that intimacy
has become nothing more
than obligation.

But sometimes in the night
I get lonely.