Kissing a ‘thing which is human’


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


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


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.


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.