Look over your shoulder for the hustle of words.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Aubade for John

When I rise before the sun
and leave you,
the sheet falling from me
easily, a snake's shed skin,
I glance down once.
Pale and freckled, scattered handfuls
of curls framing your face,
you sleep like an ashen Christ.
Your mouth hangs slightly ajar;
your breath is the rustle of leaves.
Your hands tuck up, under the pillow
like they clasp a secret.

I carry myself through the house;
bustling and moving,
always, always moving.
Hands work, the mind covets
ideas and images that flit
as a bee between flowers,
legs pollen-heavy.
The tea is a ritual
to cleanse a tight throat;
a shower to wake
an unfurling body.

On my return, you're awake.
One hand is cocked to hold your head,
the other rests at your leg.
You smile, watch me dress
and all the time, behind your eyes
I see the turning cogs.
The divine fire has spit the first flame;
your day has begun.
The child asleep, the man awake.

Rinse

Cleaning out the fireplace
after Christmas day
he flicked some hair from her face,
left some ash and the smudge looked
just like a heart shape.
She laughed, her dark eyes flashed
and soon they were a tangle
of limbs and linen.

Flat on the tiles
and listening to the scatter
of water all around them
he watched her rising from him
and falling back down
and he saw the way the light
reflected from her teeth
when she pulled back her lips
to shriek

and he thought
ah, ah, this will all be the same
in two years or sixty
when she is limping and when I
can't remember her name,
we have derailed time's inertia -
It will all be the same.

The Visitation

Ringing your doorbell
I was a jumble of keys and tissues
with papers falling from my bag as I
searched for mints and hairspray
and you came to the door at last;
you turned the deadbolt
grinning through the glass

and as the door opened, a wind swept through
tumbling from the hallway
and rushing to the pathway
collecting me like mail and sorting
the junk from the value

and by the time I was upon you
the metamorphosis had come to pass -
you moistly somersaulting, caterwauling,
calling for me;
and I this tiger-moth,
a boudoir butterfly with her wing-span
outstretched.

Rainy

If the rain lasts, and the sky keeps on
gathering and clotting and hailing,
well that's okay...

We can go under,
under the doona.
The cotton is crisp and it'll crumple
around the angles of your
shivering body.

If the rain lasts, and we're driven inside
we can fall asleep, puffing and clinging
to each other's rough skin.

If I wake before you
my fingertips will walk over your temples
and I'll tell you, through your eyelashes
stories about the weather.

If the rain lasts, right until night comes
well that's okay...
you'll keep me warm.

Roadtrip Lullaby

Squinting and humming;
the radio's on, the bass rattles like there are
old moths in the dashboard,
a little hive unsettled.

Squinting and humming;
I flip down the visor, curl my hand under yours
and together we bump over hills -
quietly.

Hearts

You have a cigar mouth, the teeth are
perfectly sharp to snap at the tip and grip
the paper like a cunt

and you hold me
you hold me like that in the cup of your lips.
The tip of your tongue rolls me up.

Dart a finger through the mist and please,
do a little strip with those eyes of yours;
I shiver down to my quick.

You have card shark hands, your fingers
call my bluff, my front, my puff and blow
every time, every time.