a rooking girl
who stole me for her side
Sir John in his sea-legged shack, rocked on the cradle of his breath, swings in his cot. Above his roof, seagulls chide him gently. The dark door of his mouth hangs open. His walls dazzle with the sea’s brightness. Far beyond his windows, huge freighters move at the edge of light across cloud-clotted oceans. But in his well-thumbed dreams, Sir John pursues the ligaments of love. Long-socked and sandalled in his howling days he stumbles through the maze of brilliant light to a cliff five worlds away where his six-year old lover awaits, demure and naked in the naughty shade of pine trees where he used to play and hide. There, at the edge of sunsets, they may look westward at the shimmering bay from where a bird’s shadow dissolves in their pressed hands. Sir John lies in his cross-wise house on a wrack of days while the tides step in and out the bay. The sun swinging up splatters the beach with towels, arranges a gallery of exhibits: the sand and bright dry cotton underneath frame oiled, immediate, almost touchable, flesh. Sir John longs from his eaves in the days between the fourteen-year-old knights of his dreams. Slender and awkward in his underwear in the small hours of the night in an underground chapel, beyond all chance of being found or interrupted, he slips between white sheets to meet a naked, wordless woman who will introduce to him the courtesy of bodies and take him in to rock upon her breath and the wild seas of her flesh. Sir John moans in his sleep. His tongue hunts blindly in his mouth. He never knew the dark night of his soul would have so much flesh in it. He has mortified: denied his need, buried it in letters. Knowledge of it hangs behind the dawn, looms at him across the sea, gropes from the horizon.