After Making Love We Hear Footsteps

By Galway Kinnell b. 1927 Galway Kinnell
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.

Galway Kinnell, “After Making Love We Hear Footsteps” from Three Books. Copyright © 2002 by Galway Kinnell. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved, www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com.

Source: Three Books (2002)

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Poet Galway Kinnell b. 1927

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Love, Marriage & Companionship, Birth & Birthdays, Home Life, Men & Women, Parenthood, Living, Relationships, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

Occasions Anniversary

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Galway  Kinnell

Biography

Galway Kinnell is an award-winning poet best known for poetry that connects the experiences of daily life to much larger poetic, spiritual, and cultural forces. Often focusing on the claims of nature and society on the individual, Kinnell’s poems explore psychological states in precise and sonorous free verse. The New York Times Book Review essayist Morris Dickstein called Kinnell “one of the true master poets of his . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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