There’s no way back now
to the scent of cut grass
a whitewashed wall and a green door
the dark, oil-stained garage
my grandfather’s Rover kennelled there
its huge back seat reeking of leather.
Back at his place
she comes in for coffee
and within minutes
they're tearing at each other's clothes,
her tongue sliding against his,
and then he’s inside her,
soft muscles closing round him
I have to get closer to you
and she’s putting her hand over her mouth,
stifling her shouts,
and it's gathering in his thighs,
burning away all thought...
When he rolls over she’s already half-dressed.
I'm sorry, she says, I have to go. I'll ring you tomorrow.
Listening to her drive away
he pictures the darkened house,
her slipping into that other bed.
Long after she’s left, the smell of her
still clings to his fingers, his face,
a musk-delicate scent, almost perfumed.
(First published in Poetry South)
For G and L
Before they shocked you back to life
and you found yourself lying
on the operating table again
-an oxygen mask clamped to your face,
the doctor asking a nurse
if you were breathing-
there was nothing you tell me,
no tunnel with light at the end,
no out of body experience,
no bardo state,
just a profound blank
deeper than any sleep.
For those few seconds, you say,
I died, whatever the medical
profession might want to call it.
Now there’s a tramline down your chest,
a pale seam
no amount of sunshine will darken.
I’m marked for life, you say,
…or is it death?
the memory of those moments
when the heart stuttered and stopped
scarred into its tissue.
Sometimes night you wake at night,
waiting for the slightest arrhythmia,
a missed beat,
for the thick bagpipe of muscle to falter,
the mindless flesh
thumping in your ribcage
de dum, de dum, de dum...
(First published in Hare - Cinnamon Press, 2010)