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Ellen Bass

No, that’s not a mistake. I did use one of her poems last week, but found another one that I liked as well. To see her bio go here.

I read an interesting article some time back that sleeping next to someone is one of the safest, most comforting places a person can be. It’s when they let their guard down and become their most vulnerable. (Please understand this is SANS sex!) When I stop and think about falling asleep in someone’s arms or on their laps or curled up next to them on a couch I can feel that.

I was surprised to find Ms. Bass’s poem that kind of reflects that same sentiment. And you know, I totally got it… I just love this one. I’m going to have to order one of her books!


Sleeping Next to the Man on the Plane

I’m not well. Neither is he.
Periodically he pulls out a handkerchief
and blows his nose. I worry
about germs, but appreciate how he shares
the armrest — especially
considering his size — too large
to lay the tray over his lap.
His seatbelt barely buckles. At least
he doesn’t have to ask for an extender
for which I imagine him grateful. Our upper arms
press against each other, like apricots growing
from the same node. My arm is warm
where his touches it. I close my eyes.
In the chilly, oxygen-poor air, I am glad
to be close to his breathing mass.
We want our own species. We want
to lie down next to our own kind.
Even here in this metal encumbrance, hurtling
improbably 30,000 feet above the earth,
with all this civilization — down
to the chicken-or-lasagna in their
environmentally-incorrect packets,
even as the woman behind me is swiping
her credit card on the phone embedded
in my headrest and the folks in first
are watching their individual movies
on personal screens I lean
into this stranger, seeking primitive comfort —
heat, touch, breath — as we slip
into the ancient vulnerability of sleep.

Sleeping Next to the Man on the Plane

Rendition by RedCoaster on Deviant Art


Picture Source:
Ellen Bass — phren-Z