You weren't well or really ill yet either; just a little tired, your handsomeness tinged by grief or anticipation, which brought to your face a thoughtful, deepening grace. I didn't for a moment doubt you were dead. I knew that to be true still, even in the dream. You'd been out--at work maybe?-- having a good day, almost energetic. We seemed to be moving from some old house where we'd lived, boxes everywhere, things in disarray: that was the story of my dream, but even asleep I was shocked out of the narrative by your face, the physical fact of your face: inches from mine, smooth-shaven, loving, alert. Why so difficult, remembering the actual look of you? Without a photograph, without strain? So when I saw your unguarded, reliable face, your unmistakable gaze opening all the warmth and clarity of you--warm brown tea--we held each other for the time the dream allowed. Bless you. You came back, so I could see you once more, plainly, so I could rest against you without thinking this happiness lessened anything, without thinking you were alive again.
From Sweet Machine, published by HarperCollins. Copyright © 1998 by Mark Doty. All rights reserved. Used with permission.