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Her Book

She’s reading her book again – holding it
with braille hands, eyes metronoming blank pages.

She’s forgotten that the words fell out,
the font scattering like poppy seeds –

the way we brushed them from her duvet,
sprinkling the carpet in pointed black glitter.

She’s forgotten the day this happened,
the way we lifted each typeface for the bin –

then swept up the text with a dustpan and brush,
hoovered up the acknowledgements, her ISBN.

What is known?

Today, I kissed the lips of a dying man,
held his fingers cool to my face, gazed

at his bright yellow skin. Almost blind,
his body arrowed, his voice sang clear

with grace, and wit. We cried, and at once
gave up crying, our loosed water draining

the serif  from our words. Our dry words,
now un-forming, lines, curves uncurling,

now gathering behind bone, near the heart,
at a place only light, or birds, may describe.

Kiss

You kissed me by the washing machine
on the lips. It was our first time.
I pushed the dial on the wrong setting
in the rush to kiss you back.

For the rest of the evening it chuntered
and spluttered through spin cycles.
The house smelled like washing lines,
everything tasted of suds.

That night you came to my room
and kissed me again. Your heart swam.
In the space between our kisses
I heard it grumbling with the cellar.

The space between

I drink from the cup
rest the cup on my lower lip
hold the wet in my mouth

and she moves across the room
I cannot touch her   she moves
in blue light   the veins

on her wrist are raised
blood flows   her lips are red
they do not come towards me


Talk of the Street

He chimed I... I... I... to fill up the quiet
the same as when she was alive. And when she left
his was the loudest sob - peeling the hour, clockwork.

We all agreed he was a selfish bastard –
it was the talk of the street that he beat her,
and as we hunched with grief under black umbrellas

we felt his anguish crackle over us like rain.
But it was his loss, his pain, that mattered.
Hours later he was still raging at her headstone,

hoarding clods of earth in his fingernails.
He spent the whole of November bringing her roses.
He flogged the rest of our grief like a carpet.

Dry rain

We were abroad when you died—
feasting our eyes on caves painted

and scoured by water in a gorge,
climbing hot ancient steps, gazing

down at dry limestone, grids of vines,
and at dark, sharp gasps of cypress.

Back home, I’m sure we saw you—
in a dense circle of trees on the hill,

in wild boughs of yellow-pink plums,
in red-winged beetle-moths like petals

on the thistle grass. We saw you,
didn’t we – in the marshy lime green

pools of the estuary; in the blue gorse.
It was you, surely—the red fox cub

who stopped and turned his eyes
towards us – and in a moment,

sauntered away, his bushy tail fluffed
and filleted by the rapping wind.