My partner and I hold hands as we fall asleep.
Occasionally it’s a handshake,
but mostly our fingers are intertwined
If she’s sitting up in bed I’ll just hold her.
Sometimes it’s her wrist or her elbow,
sometimes just my arm across her chest.
We’re both careful to not let go until we fall asleep.
Until we wander our dreams alone,
meeting strange versions of one another.
I read that otters, both river and sea,
hold hands when they fall asleep
so they don’t drift apart.
I wonder if that’s why we do it.
So we drift off,
And when we die,
in some far-flung, theoretical future,
will we hold hands as the world closes?
Sure to follow each other,
not to drift through the ethers alone,
Nathaniel Mellor is a short story writer and poet-in-training. He lives in the Cilento of Southern Italy with his partner.