You glow when I see you—
the crease of your eyes, pulled
by quiet laughter.
I will always recognize the ripples
patterned into your forehead
as the visible waveform of your smile,
and know you are thinking—
when I, proud and naked, stood before
you. An unfamiliar, but wholly comfortable,
new weight of a vow on my finger.
And you, proud and naked, stood before
me. Our hands were as hungry
as our eyes and we could barely breathe.
But we didn’t stop—
we would never stop devouring each other.
Our hungry eyes and our hungry hands
spoke their own language across our bodies.
Tracing the map of time furrowed
into the cracks of our skin.
They are our history—
a chronicle of our exploration of our selves
and the sometimes meandering roads
of lost jobs, nights of ramen, and sleepless
tear-filled nights of wondering, hoping, praying
that our house could remain our own.
But there is still comfort in your glow—
no matter how momentarily dim—
head held down with the weight
of your hair that curtains your emotion
from the glow of lesson plans on the monitor.
Plans that, no matter your strength
or determination, will remain shapeless.
Because distance learning is all about distance—
and no amount of your own learning
could ever prepare you for this—
for having to teach from your home
to students you will never see again.
Glimpses through a computer screen—
but you know, and they know,
that this isn’t the same. It will never
be the same. Not now, not tomorrow, and not
when you can finally return to the classroom.
Because you will have new students—
new lesson plans that you hope—
oh, how you hope—will retain their shape.
But you glow when I see you—
curled under a blanket and the dogs,
the TV providing its own soft glow
as you grade homework and plan your next lesson
long after I have curled under a blanket—
the glow of the alarm clock
is so dim next to you.