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The knowing.

Afterwards, when we have slept, paradise-comaed, and woken, we lie a long time looking at each other. I do not know what he sees, but I see eyes of surpassing tenderness and calm, a calm like the dignity of matter. I love the open ocean blue-grey-green of his iris, I love the curve of it against the white, that curve the sight of what has caused me to come, when he's quite still, deep inside me. I have never seen a curve like that, except the earth from outer space. I don't know where he got his kindness without self-regard, almost without self, and yet he chose one woman, instead of the others. By knowing him, I get to know the purity of the animal which mates for life. Sometimes he is slightly smiling, but mostly he just gazes at me gazing, his entire face lit. I love to see it change if I cry--there is no worry, no pity, a graver radiance. If we are on our backs, side by side, with our faces turned fully to face each other, I can hear a tear from my lower eye hit the sheet, as if it is an early day on earth, and then the upper eye's tears braid and sluice down through the lower eyebrow like the invention of farming, irrigation, a non-nomadic people. I am so lucky that I can know him. This is the only way to know him. I am the only one who knows him. When I wake again, he is still looking at me, as if he is eternal. For an hour we wake and doze, and slowly I know that though we are sated, though we are hardly touching, this is the coming the other coming brought us to the edge of--we are entering, deeper and deeper, gaze by gaze, this place beyond the other places, beyond the body itself, we are making love.
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Author:Olds, Sharon
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Words:321
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