In the end, I took the safe way.
But I stole the memory of your lips,
Chapped by too much kissing.
Of your back with it’s open wounds
kissed in another way, by a whip.
The volume of orange blossom
peaked in June, around the time
you ran, with dollar bills stolen
from my Mother’s purse and
my sad, mad heart beating
in your ears.
Far away from the peach fuzz and
Charleston voices, antiqued by honour
and history. Throwing your people
under Overseer’s boots and
drowning them in cotton. Years on,
my man finds you in New York
so I follow his lead. And as I was
preparing to say goodbye I watch you,
for the last time walking, hand in hand
with your dark blushed Queen, her stockings
slightly wrinkled at the ankle. Coat, shabby
and faded around the collar but you,
you are blind to anything but love.
Later, you turn and rub your temple
with one finger, the way you would when
you thought ghosts were a-stalking.
Peering through the exhaust from
yellow cabs and crazy talk from
radio ads. Feeling my sharp eyes
on your neck, my tongue
on the flat of your hand and my loss
nagging at your memory like a wounded
bee, slapping against a window pane.