Sixth Date

4 October 2016

The night before we last met,
I pulled Kodak packets from under my parents’ bed
to leaf through sea-green garden parties
with faded lipstick reds, & saw
my mother’s young face mimic mine
in grinning topographic skin.

London summer evenings got dark at ten.
I’d watch shadow assemblies under deciduous leaves
proclaim Proudhon’s night-time parade
of prowling cats over red-brick boundaries.

I wanted you to know how carbon made the air smell sweet,
& how on rare nights fluorescent pink would spill over the sky like eosin.
We had a eucalyptus tree – the only one in the street. A titanic silhouette,
it splayed shards of silver bark for my father to stockpile.

If I tendered these negatives to you, I’m sure you would not enlarge them.
Likewise, the book you lent me rests lonely on my desk,
so perhaps now is an opportune time to tell you
I’ve opened hearts. I know what’s in them.

It’s strange how I want to share
with a sharp-eyed vamp seraph like you
how my carefully collected words
are occluded at the throat.


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