In the Bath
City dust conducts into my brain
a shimmering coma of heat. As I stride in
the bathroom mirror presents a bulge
of mirageless desert. I suck in and
turn, looking for an oasis: then remember I
am a feminist and hesitate away.
I cast the faceless dice of waterdrops
up and await, eyes closed, the free-falling
atoms of relief: then remember I
am an environmentalist and turn off the tap,
peering over the rail tracks at the little blue
plastic tanks, atop the straggling houses
of the self-limiting otherside: then remember I
am modest and shut the window.
I wish someone had seen me: perhaps the child
ogling at his luminous ochre droppings
by the tracks, oblivious: then remember I
am punctual and step out,
fumbling back into my spotless private
When Thisbe Was Dead
On love-wings woven with two
years’ whisperings from lust-webs
he flies to the trysting-place:
Ninos’ tomb: the chosen womb
of the rebirth of Pyramos
surging from blind alleys
into her arms. She was in mulberry-white
when she hung her lantern on his soul
in the slave-market in her thirteenth summer.
What will she wear on this
her wedding-night? ‘White,’ she’d
sworn, sending him her breath
through the wise old crack in the wall
of her courtyard, of his garden
as her mother called for the buckets.
From their twilight minutes he has
drawn her: white veil over dirty world.
Then beneath the mulberry-tree
crimson with death he sees
her disembowelled bride’s-veil.
Issue 36 (Mar-Apr 2011)