Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)
The Phantom Kiss
One night in my room, still and beamless,
With will and with thought in eclipse,
I rested in sleep that was dreamless;
When softly there fell on my lips
A touch, as of lips that were pressing
Mine own with the message of bliss--
A sudden, soft, fleeting caressing,
A breath like a maiden's first kiss.
I woke-and the scoffer may doubt me--
I peered in surprise through the gloom;
But nothing and none were about me,
And I was alone in my room.
Perhaps 't was the wind that caressed me
And touched me with dew-laden breath;
Or, maybe, close-sweeping, there passed me
The low-winging Angel of Death.
Some sceptic may choose to disdain it,
Or one feign to read it aright;
Or wisdom may seek to explain it--
This mystical kiss in the night.
But rather let fancy thus clear it:
That, thinking of me here alone,
The miles were made naught, and, in spirit,
Thy lips, love, were laid on mine own.
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