The Phantom Kiss

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The Phantom Kiss
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
In the 1913 collection of his work, The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar

            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.

This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.