From the Archives

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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