Kissing a ‘thing which is human’

1

At bedtime, I lie on my side, facing her. Her hand is so warm, rough from climbing.

2

After I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I lie back down and listen. There: her breath.

3

Epicetus says, ‘If you kiss your wife, say you only kiss a thing which is human. Thus you will not be disturbed if it dies.’ His words sound cruel, but they are not that at all.

4

One hand is firmly around the middle of her back, feeling muscle and vertebrae. The other wide-pinches the nape of the neck. Her lungs fill. Her ribs fall.

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