The Awakening of Adonis
John Waterhouse circa 1900
Imagine she is just pulling away from his lips,
Aphrodite kneeled over her rose-cheeked prize,
breathing in his breath of dreams – dreams of her
and windflower – and his eyes open to find hers.
Or imagine she moved to kiss but paused
because he stirred, sensing her nearness;
the Romans were right, how celestial she is,
Venus’ gravity enough to pull him from sleep.
Focus on this moment: they are not touching
but they have and they will and they will have
each other until winter comes and Lady Death
offers her own lips to end Adonis’ dreams.
In the painting he will always be caught
in the blue hour of awakening to spring,
to flowers, to his lover’s eyes, tilted,
as she hovers before a first, or second, kiss.