One blonde braid peeks out

above a plaid sleeping bag

slid off its mat

a tiny snore

like I imagine the sound of a small bear hibernating

(or is that just the influence of Disneyland?)

the braid slides forward

over the edge

and a blue eye appears

crusties in the corners and campfire soot

on one eyebrow

the eye crinkles when it sees me

and leads a nose and a smile

out of their warm cave

a chin the point of a heart

and then an arm attached

to a suntanned hand with grubby fingernails

reaches for me


I grab on and feel the tiny

lapis lazuli ring on the longest digit

our fingers interlace

and her lips form a perfect pucker

-- a Hershey’s kiss would fit there --

she kisses the air towards my face

and I roll to the edge of my air mattress

face extended to mirror hers

our kiss becomes giggles

and a bright pink pair of footie pajamas

brings a lanky little body out of her bag

and quickly into mine

we squeeze up against each other and

against the cold of the Alpine morning

and I inhale deeply

smelling s’mores and soap from the hostel

and Johnson’s baby shampoo


I bite into one braid and feel

arms and hands grow out of the space

between every rib


my whole torso reaches for her and holds her

in an embrace that starts

below our tent and our tarp

below the decomposed pine needles and rocky mountain rocks


below the vertebral crust of the Continental Divide

firmly anchored in our mammalian beginnings

at the evolutionary base camp


She tucks her head under my chin

and shudders into my body

and we sleep




copyright Megan E. Freeman, published in Literary Mama, 2006



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Megan E. Freeman 2019