The Hug

Thom Gunn

It was your birthday, we had drunk and dined
  Half of the night with our old friend
            Who'd showed us in the end
      To a bed I reached in one drunk stride.
            Already I lay snug,
And drowsy with wine dozed on one side.

I dozed, I slept. My sleep broke on a hug,
            Suddenly, from behind, 
In which the full lengths of our bodies pressed:
            Your instep to my heel,
      My shoulder-blades against your chest.
      It was not sex, but I could feel
      The whole strength of your body set,
                  Or braced, to mine,
            And locking me to you
      As if we were still twenty-two
      When our grand passion had not yet
            Become familial.
      My quick step had deleted all
      Of intervening time and place.
                  I only knew
The stay of your secure firm dry embrace.

Thom Gunn was an Anglo-American poet. His collections include The Man with Night Sweats (1992).
Originally published:
July 1, 1985

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