Longtime marrieds slumber entwined.

Awakening he sees an indentation in the bed,

a dimpled imprint illuminating where she slept,

rumpled bedclothes leave just her scent.

Languorous rays of morning sun

fill their garret with a golden luster,

drifting wisps of clouds cast contoured

shadows of Corinthian columns, an apparition

of flickering acanthus leaves decorates the walls.

A praying mantis hops out of nowhere,

perches on the sill raising feelers and spiny

forelegs as if to say: “What’s up?”

He wonders why a mantis bites off the head

of a male she is mating.

Is that why some men suffer from archetypical

fears that can deflate their ardor?

Outside the window a spider dangles from the sky

wrestling with a mottled moth who flutters no more.

Her filaments spin a web snagging flies

buzzing back and forth who sound hungry

even though they must have had their fill

at whinnying horse stables between Oldis Road

and Jamieson Lane.

Down below he hears roiling waters of a Jacuzzi

bath as she does her dainty morning ablutions.

Footsteps pitter-patter as she lights a fire under

a silver samovar brewing Swee-Tuch-Nee Tea,

a samovar her mother once hid under green fodder

in a silo when thundering horse hooves came too close.

He listens to the pop of the toaster, thinks of the eight

grain buttered toast he’ll soon slather with lemon-orange

marmalade. The spinning Cuisinart means she’s preparing

her favorite soufflé of sky high cheese and spinach puffed up

like a bouffant of a Hollywood “prima donna.”

He hears the juicer whirring; she’ll be spiking juice

with a bit of gin they’ll soon be sipping in crystal

goblets he loves to ping with the flick of a finger,

hearing it chime while savoring eggs in Limoges egg cups

she scored at a flea market along with a zither and toy xylophone

she tingles with a magical touch.

He’ll stay in bed waiting intently for the approaching sound

of her returning footsteps. Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. Leonia, N.J. 07605