After fumblings they call “making love,”
the newlywed couple spoons, a pose
they’ve seen in movies: hand on breast, his nose
buried in her hair, his arm shoved
beneath her head. The tender weight above
his arm seems nothing, so he sleeps, enclosed
in bliss, the afterglow’s sweet repose.
He wakes to a hand dead as a pitcher’s glove.
Usually, the damaged nerve recovers.
Throughout the long, oblivious nights, they lie,
seemingly aligned, heart to heart.
Already, they’ve learned so much, these new lovers:
touching without meeting the other’s eye,
going numb to each other, part by part.
Juliana Gray is the author of Honeymoon Palsy (Measure Press, 2017), Roleplay (Dream Horse Press, 2012), which won the 2010 Orphic Prize, and The Man Under My Skin (River City Publishing, 2005), as well as the chapbook Anne Boleyn’s Sleeve (Winged City Press, 2014). An Alabama native, she lives in Alfred, New York, where she is a professor of English at Alfred University.