Spheres

Perhaps Ptolemy wasn’t so wrong when

I feel some nights the

spheres within spheres, the

roiling clouds wracked by

moonlight, the slowly

circling stars and the

great red-hot iron

rim of the galaxy

rolling soundlessly

millions of miles

above my head.

Coelocanth

Monsters

I can only cower beneath the

monsters chasing each other above me

so I seek out the depths where

like the coelocanth I might

never be found.

Blackboard

Night after cloudless night

pursuing Perseids draws a

blank knowing once

curtains are closed

one fiery fingernail will

scrape across the sky’s

black board.

Prude and Prejudiced

The weather cannot choose to be

hot or cold like you can, wearing

airy clothes whilst making

coffee, pretending you are

unaware of how nearly

nude you are or how hard it is to

share this space when you are a

prude and prejudiced.

Gutter

The pigeon on the neighbour roof

immobile this last few hours

blinks its incomprehension as

day collapses into the

gutter of night.

Unperceived Winds

Concussed

You slept so long you missed how a

drizzly day changed so abruptly, the

concussed clouds battered aside by

winds we can’t perceive, the sky all

torn attire and blushes.

 

Stone

The sun set

The Sun set like a stone

rippling the calm sky.

Scents and Sensibility

It only takes a light drizzle to

ignite the garden smells

wriggling through the open door to

meet the slowly-maturing scent of a

leg of lamb roasting full of

garlic and rosemary.

 

Tonight we will eat our fill, the

tang of mint already on my tongue, and

tomorrow, I just know, there will be a

sudden rash of roses.

Causal Sex

That first time when we had

just been introduced and we found

so many things we both loved and

couldn’t stop talking so that

when you were about to leave I found the

courage to ask you to

that party up in the hills where we

kissed in the dark garden

left quietly

kissed madly on my friend’s sofa

your breasts bare but your

hand stopping mine

your libertine self for the first time

knowing this shouldn’t just be

casual sex.

“By Cock, they are to blame.”

Each night I dread putting on that costume,

pulling on that character, her plain

shift, knee-length stockings, the hated

“pair-of-bodies”, farthingale, bum-roll,

petticoat, kirtle, partlet, all topped with the

splendid silk gown and for “authenticity”

no knickers, so that I feel

naked despite so much clothing, so

obsessed with my bare sex, so

alive to “country matters”.

 

I think of the boys who played my part but

with a part I didn’t have, dangling—

did they have some codpiece, some

protection I am not allowed?

“Beginners” doesn’t mean me so

finally finished I can look at myself:

I am 26 but look 16 so if I were her I

could be married and

dead of my fourth child by now and

I think of it…..No

 

I think on’t. Think of being just a

poppet (but a poppet with thoughts and

hormones) bred to be bred,

pimped by my family for favours,

being prim and proper yet

panting like a bitch in heat when the

moment was propitious, and it doesn’t help that the

hero is hot, the lights broiling, the

clothes heavy and my inner nakedness a

weight within me, like lead.

 

The words strip me, stripe me: I look

66 in the mirror as the dresser

removes the baggage, leaving me my

shift for modesty, though what

modesty is left after such shredding?

Later there will be a club, me

rubbing myself against my boy, trying to

rub her off me, be 16 again, alive,

unharboured anywhere, an

ocean calling me.

 

But he will pull me to him, whisper

“Ophelia tits?”, snigger, and I will

suddenly be back on that stage in my

wet shift, amongst all those

other dead bodies.

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