Birthday. Your beauties on the stripped shore,
twilight, sun going down and down.
Sugar, sand. Your son cutting the foam with his bare feet,
your wife holding her hair in the breeze.
Surfeit. Suffer. Did you?
I was air, licking the back of your neck,
long kiss down the lung. Please say I was inside you then,
despite the sea between us. Please say it was
a perfect day, a brilliant night, not least because
you knew I loved you. Know it now.
The world asleep at your knee, gentle as an old dog,
while I play Heathcliff at the window
drinking ash from the fire.
I’ll fold your blood up
like a bolt of stained satin,
I’ll stroke your sticky sides.
Say something, sing something.
Yes, home, you’re going. Just
a little while more. What was the light like
the last time you saw it? Was it
very bright? White, gold? Sometimes
light is blue, it’s true, I’ve seen it
while lying with you. Robin’s egg, or
sleeve of saint, or deep
water. Remember water?
Put your nose in my lap. Smell the
smell you left there. I’m
coming, you know, I’m not
far behind. Go ahead
and make a place.
There are burrs all over,
shoe. I lost
the scissors, the ones
with the good blades,
and other things, too, have
gone missing—your cuff button,
several pairs of underwear:
If your mouth wasn’t so sore I’d
kiss it. Remember kissing? Was it only
this morning that I struck my hip
against yours? Time, too, I’ve
forgotten, or lost, or just stopped
knowing. It can’t go on
forever. Cruel teeth, flayed leg, well:
I was much less weak, once,
then I was no
match for steel or