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.