Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Conqueror

You wore your new accent
like a souvenir. You returned to bed
in your hometown one last evening
with an emperor’s walk
and laurels in your hair, picking out
my olive face
from a photograph on the stairs
as though you were walking the groves.
Under a graphite sky
Venus spat on your shadow
as you passed. Your mouth found me out
before I could speak—
persistent as ever, there was something
Roman now in the boldness of your hands,
heavy with your tongue;
a marble god, unearthing me
like a Phoenican.
You believed in women too,
claimed to have fistfuls of goddess hair
on classical evenings,
tasted ambrosial blood, the dull whirr
and hum of electric lights,
the cheap hostel nights with Artemis
and the wars you lost
in her stockinged summer nights.

Home now, the hero,
my knight in shining pinstripe
while somewhere in a whitewashed house
your cigarettes smoke to a ceiling of stars
in her conquering, iron lips.

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