My lovers jut out of photographs
like broken bones. In time, I will shrug them off
coolly, pack them off like bad children
running away from home. In time
they will not hurt me.
My twenty-year old lover on a keyring
has a smile like a shattered plate.
I liked his crooked ways, his broken lips
were a masterpiece put back together.
I feel his mouth out of photographs
blowing my perfumed neck,
sucking my petalled ear;
my ivory skin was a china doll’s
his grandmother kept by the bed.
I pressed to his light like a flower.
He hardened to pockets of rubies.
My boy from the glittering seashore
gleams like mother-of-pearl,
the water forever rolling
over his hairless chest, smooth
and brown as an almond. His feet grow
upwards from sand-dunes, his body
a spreading tree. I pluck at the dangling fruit;
remember the taste of sin
as it clung to my mouth like lemons.
I wore the same china doll dress,
only this time he called me a siren.
Thrilled with my dangerous legs.
in years I will find them in sepia,
discover an old dress
like pulled seaweed, drained of the girl
who has outgrown the full-length mirrors
but waltzes forever in frames.
In time I will haunt his old body,
find it stooped like a reed.
Despite myself, count all my fingers
searching the tomb of his mouth.
My watch ticks on, medicinal.
In time I will slip on old ballgowns,
pick at a pearly old wound.