After Making Love We Hear Footsteps

After Making Love We Hear Footsteps

For I can snore like a bullhorn
or play loud music
or sit up talking with any reasonably sober Irishman
and Fergus will only sink deeper
into his dreamless sleep, which goes by all in one flash,
but let there be that heavy breathing
or a stifled come-cry anywhere in the house
and he will wrench himself awake
and make for it on the run - as now, we lie together,
after making love, quiet, touching along the length of our bodies,
familiar touch of the long-married,
and he appears - in his baseball pajamas, it happens,
the neck opening so small he has to screw them on
and flops down between us and hugs us and snuggles himself to sleep,
his face gleaming with satisfaction at being this very child.

In the half darkness we look at each other
and smile
and touch arms across this little, startlingly muscled body -
this one whom habit of memory propels to the ground of his making,
sleeper only the mortal sounds can sing awake,
this blessing love gives again into our arms.

'After Making Love We Hear Footsteps' from Three Books: Body Rags: Mortal Acts, Mortal Words: The Past (Houghton Mifflin, 1993), © Galway Kinnell 1968, 1980, 1985, 1993, used by permission of the author and the publisher.


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1First Song

2The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World

3The Bear

4Lastness: Section 2

5Fergus Falling

6After Making Love We Hear Footsteps


8Blackberry Eating

9The Road Between Here and There

10The Olive Wood Fire

11The Fundamental Project of Technology


13When One Has Lived A Long Time Alone: parts 1, 7 & 9



16How Could She Not

17The Stone Table


19It All Comes Back