by the calmness he tried to show
by his clumsy watchful steps into the room
by the humid hands that hesitated to untie his boots
by his frantic look for the switch to turn the light off.
I would have preferred
to hold him and talk about his fears
and hug him and sky why
and caress the smoothness of his face,
but there was another young one at home whom
I had to hold and hug and caress--
and he was hungry.
So I sprawled on the bed,
my legs together,
watching him inch closer under the red light.
I helped after awhile,
with the confident domestic voice that never fails,
and - "Not There!"
(I only use that for love)-
helped as he fumbled with closed eyes.
After a few silent minutes he stopped,
his dark hair moist with sweat,
and I asked if his body was ready for this.
He jerked up at once to show me,
sat on the scrambled pink sheets,
glanced at the bed as if he had lost something,
and went back to his bootlaces.
I came out to meet his anxious friends,
"He has seen a lot of movies," I said,
and then saw him - any him, really -
leave without looking back.