The Present

Sep 1, 2023 | 2023 Fall - Bi+ Joy, Poetry

By Nicole Swisher

In my daydreams, I see her:
a woman as round as I am,
as soft,
with an awkward, nervously overtalkative charm
that matches my own.
I am sitting at my desk,
penning another novel
(the word another here is important,
because in this daydream, I have already
published one, or two, or ten),
and she knocks on the door
and carries in a yellow mug that says
Hello, sunshine!
from which a fragrant curl of steam
She sets the mug next to my keyboard,
leans over my shoulder
to sneak a peek at what I’ve written,
wrapping her arms
around my shoulders
and pressing a kiss to my cold cheek.
We are wearing matching rings
on our left hands,
gold bands,
engraved with something poetic—
but the exact words change
depending on how I measure romance
that day.
She wears her brown hair in a pinned-up mess.
Her face is bare of makeup.
A spattering of freckles makes
a star-filled sky
of her face.
She laughs with abandon at my acerbic wit,
snorting piggishly when I really get her going,
and it’s the most beautiful sound
I’ve ever heard.
She makes me laugh, too.
At night we tangle our unshaven legs together,
rubbing thighs and calves like crickets
making music,
and I play with her hair,
smelling of honey and amber from her shampoo.
I’ve taken off my rings—
the yellow-gold halo
and the ring she proposed to me with,
a sunflower of citrine and brown quartz—
and I’ve stashed them carefully
in the drawer of the bedside table.
In the morning,
the first thing I do
will be to put them back on.
We live in a yellow house.
There are plants everywhere.
In the corner: a dozing cat
on a bed much too big for her,
and a sweetly confused dog,
wondering why her favorite place to nap
has suddenly been usurped
by a little purring monster.
The rooms smell of
and lavender.
On the weekends, we sleep late,
lulled to a deep, velvety rest
by a full night of lovemaking
and gently self-deprecating laughter.
And all of this is possible
because of one thing,
a beautiful truth we share:
that we are both women,
and we are both women who love women,
and we are both women who love each other.
Emerging from the daydream—
hazy, idealistic, representative
of the thousand futures I have envisioned,
the thousand outcomes I have desired,
the thousand happily-ever-afters
with a thousand imagined women,
but the one thing they all have in common
is that in them there is a woman,
and that woman
is my wife.
Someday, the daydream will cease to be
a dream.
And when that happens,
I will have much to thank—
many people, many things,
many experiences that will have led me
to that earth-stilling moment
(Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?
I do.)—
and the thing I will thank above all
is the gift I was given at birth,
a gift so profound
and so simple
and so profoundly simple
that it can be encompassed
in just a little two-letter word:
and that word is

Nicole Swisher lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her precious dog and adorable cats. Nicole is delighted to be a bi woman, thrilled by the possibilities her orientation affords her, and excited to meet the woman of her dreams.

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