Meditations for Queer Femmes – “The Embrace”

Today, with George H. W. Bush’s 94-year old body lying in state in Washington, a man who will be remembered for how little he did during the AIDS epidemic, let’s send blessings to lovers and friends lost to AIDS with Mark Doty’s exquisite poem.

The Embrace

by Mark Doty

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 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.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)



Published in: on December 3, 2018 at 4:28 PM  Leave a Comment  
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