he walks / toes-first

he walks
toes-first
with his hands covered
over his sweater-sleeves
his bright doe eyes, glancing
about the room with a sort of
frantic anticipation.
(i feel it too)

his scent
fills my nostrils
as he stands
near me so
intimately,
a scent that only makes me want him
closer.
(does he feel it too?)

he nervously occupies his hands
while trying to keep up conversation
avoiding eye contact
(i feel it too)

but suddenly
— our energies collide as he finally looks at me —
are you okay? he asks
— the surge,
the reminiscent spark of loves once lost,
it floods out of my pores —
(does he feel it too?)

i’m okay, i say. it’s only that
— i rub the sweat from my palms —
every movement i make
i make hoping you will see
and there is nothing that can remedy
the aching my body has to feel
your hands, uncovered by sweater-sleeves;
the scratch of your chin-scruff against my unworthy cheek;
but only in dreams am i relieved from my grief.

But now, quite suddenly, like a white bolt in a mist (but this image forged itself with the inevitability of lightning and loomed up), there it had happened; the old ecstasy of life; its invincible assault; for it was unpleasant, at the same time that it rejoiced and rejuvenated and filled the veins and nerves with threads of ice and fire; it was terrifying.

Virginia Woolf, Together and Apart