First Night

Come to bed  you sigh as you surrender.
I’m still fighting

sleep like a Private on first watch.
The white rustle of our daughter’s breathing

aims my skittish sight past your body
sprawled like mecca across saltflat sheets.

My Dark Continent, wait for me
on the other side. We’ll reincarnate

in fan-cooled rooms, in borrowed countries
where bougainvillea scales balconies

like a romance language. 
We’ll glove our hands in suede-

smooth novels, luxuriate in the off-hours
emptiness of other people’s lives. I dream geckos

grafted to adobe walls, a cantina crowded
with flirt-lashed boys where American doo-wop

summers from a juke box and Expat couples churn
with the slow insomnia of landlocked seas. 

I sway with our girl till dawn, pass her
into your arms, full

of the future like a letter
carried through war.



Erin Rodoni