my myriad teeth chatter in my near numb jaw
even as I squeeze them still with a wet towel
but after the first hour my hands lie quiet
and in a world that’s faintly fluorescently green
the towel on my tongue is a childlike comfort.
the summer rouses all the sleepy life in me
you give me coriander flowers so I don’t forget
and in the sun you rub gold glitter and oil into my skin –
your kindnesses tune the afternoon.
I want to lie on the grass, roll around and around in the yard
but I am clumsy and the bees are so small.
out of the heat is your fruit-full kitchen
where I play Joss Stone like I always imagined
purple paisley familiar and evening my shallow breath.
under my hands the cool tiles arch like skin
they bend to meet my palms and rock me half to dreams
I stroke them in thanks with my thumbs.
I brush quiet waves through my hair
a rainbow of blue and candy-sweet lime;
and when I feel it turn sour you take me to bed
give me your graces as we sink softly down
turn me over and over in your hands.
I slip into your calmness,
hang it on my shoulders like silk.
in my black notebook we build up a house from the floor
write the names of our loved ones and give votes to the pets
plan the playlists, furniture, feelings
and laugh and laugh as I dance to Piaf.
in the kitchen I swallow cherryflesh and savour the stone
slide it smooth between my lips,
behind my eyelids six, six, six
pits be(come) women in an endless rivulet row
my only true halluce in our gentle journey.
you melt my illusion with your sharp smoke breath
wanting to squash a strawberry on my skin –
I can no longer tell if my towel is wet
with saliva or water or juice.
in the sticky sunbright of our giggling
it doesn’t seem to matter.
somewhere in the sweetness you draw a bath
I think about drawing you, and me:
a photograph wouldn’t see it
and I worry that in the wake I might not either.
there are too many buttons on my too-heavy dress
but every silver circle is a stone to step until I am in
I take them one by one and count my breaths and my blessings
I have long been made of water and you know it
and you tell the stories of our sea seeking,
turn your back so I can trace Winter in her fingerprint shawl;
we slip and swap places and memories
and wash out the knots in our nets
until the floor is soaked through
until we can’t move for the bodies we have brought together
the glitter leaks from my skin and your bottle and
you fold up your legs to show me the glow.
my denim dress seems so silly in your doorway
grey and grave, a blanket of a gown
I am clean and I want to wear watercolours,
stencil my shadow in the shape of the trees,
the sun setting slow and smooth on my damp skin.
the bees are long asleep when you arrive
when you leap off the step to squeeze me tight in your hat
I instantly think I’ll be too shy to show
but you reach and you wrap and I’m burstingly glad that you are here
to see me, to know me, on and far beyond,
in and out of this space/time nook where I love myself the most
in this pocket you are so keen to share.
you offer the warmth of the bath again –
cramped but cosy and secure against the rising night –
and smoke in preparation while I pour the groaning tide.
the harsh hands of our histories lurk on our skin
but today I have only tenderness for my tummy
for the thighs I have so often omitted in my sense of self
and it never feels strange that our friends hang out
as we hang our legs over the lip
as the clock blinks away the dusk.
the yard changes shape in the watery hours
as the night settles down we tuck ourselves in too
and as I finally sit snug in my whole fond heart
for hours we lounge naked on the corduroy couch.
you trail your nails over the rolling hills of my radius
scatter my thoughts into fractal-framed glass
every piece reflects us bare and pressed together
we play the songs I sang for you
you tell me you read my poems in your house
and all evening you let me run your soft smokey fingers
across my face
and here where everything is beautiful
we are elle ess deelicious