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From a balcony above the city I watch her now.

The wind has scattered a dust of sand over her flesh. She is stretched out on the riverbank in repose. I notice that sleeping, her face is less composed than when conscious. Her lips curl slightly outward; asleep, she breathes through her mouth like a child.

Her flesh glows like dusk on a summer afternoon. It has been a day of such perfect, unadulterated pleasures that I fear that I may never see one like it again. And I, beside her in the sand, having touched her so thoroughly, now did not dare to even brush my toe against her calf. She was monumental, unreachable.

I knew as I watched that mass of tepid brown river water flow seaward only to lose itself in the saltier blue of the Atlantic out beyond Punta del Este, that a crest had already been reached and I could see that crest receding out into the deeper waters of the ocean: I could not possess her any more than I already had.

The night before we had sat on that balcony, a candle between us, and watched egrets flying across the night under the full moon. As their wing-movements caught the silver light, the moon came back to us in unexpected sparkles on the wings of birds.

The egrets belong to that race of things that belong. To their species, to those things that fly, to the night. Such are egrets. Their destiny includes the glinting of wings, the squawking that comes on the wind, the nights full of longing, of coming and going.

A cool breeze rises up off the water and I watch the flesh of her abdomen pucker in an instant into a field of small goose bumps. The sand blown against her flesh clings there, giving her a rough, unfinished look, as if she were recently struck from a potter’s mold. Her eyes are closed. A smile flickers at the edge of her lips; some thought, some pleasure is pricking at her subconscious.

As the afternoon sun drops lower, the timbre of the light deepens, throwing a soft golden blanket over the two of us. All I want now is for her to sleep while I stay with her under a summer sun that settles on the horizon without ever dissolving into the ocean.

In her dream, she fashions a slow-moving kiss which floats up toward me on the breeze.

I hope that it will reach me before she wakes.