You hold her it is a moment of brilliance
and a little later you enter
the sensual nirvana of orgasm
It’s like a cloth you let fall slowly permitting its redness
to slip through your hands like a rope of water
You do not thrust it away
but neither do you seek to restrain it
Then somehow it has gone
to the place where all unthought-of things drift
and gather
There it begins its long wait
calmly, as in truth it must
The way her hair stirred towards the corner of her mouth
in the draught from the window
The fragile shadow of the naked bulb on the ceiling
hung like the ghost of a pearl
The sweatbeads each with their own tiny portion of light
flesh stars and salt until you cool right off
a breathing lustre…

The restless moment waits for you
In the cafeteria with the blue plastic trays on the steel rails
In the railway station where the air
is punctuated by the disembodied voices of tannoys
In your children’s arms and your children’s eyes
the restless moment waits for you
waits for you with the years

You check your watch
She is late
It is almost reassuring
The mysterious weight of the banal collects itself around you
and you impart to it that haunting spin
which is special to you
Books displayed in Border’s window
stacked in little pyramids
Shoppers and the reflections of shoppers
A lyre’s glisten of spokes and the black seal lycra
of the racing cyclists strolling past
The sky above the buildings the clouds sluggish with incipient rain
The things you will say to her
The way you will wait for the first moment
she will stroke back her hair
and take up a strand
and twist it round her fingers
so that some small and obscure rightness will happen
a settlement in the world
allowing things to proceed
despite the international chaos and the worsening domestic situation
and the death of the goldminers
and fears about the price of gold

The cranes over the void where the old buildings used to stand
and the new buildings will rise
The equine flicker of the dials as you start the car
and rev the engine
The new music you have brought
to replace the music which has turned to silence
The silence which floods in like a tide
filling the rock pools of failed conversations
with glitter and salt
Tears your love becomes and then
that silence again, somehow benign, peaceful,
utterly replete
The sea with its waves, the spume rolling
like a fleece endlessly shorn
And beneath the water, the involved
and patient industry of oysters,
barnacles and clams —
mute, secreting things
The call of the voiceless moon in spring
The way you wake beside each other and you give yourselves again
to the fleeting erasure of dawn

note | this poem appeared in Shearsman 79 & 80, 2009,
ISBN 9781848610231