• Your neighbourhood poet

IF WE COULD BE STRANGERS AGAIN

A rising warmth of colour in her neck

Swollen with breath unsheathed; the bruises

Left broken ‘neath a lonely sect

Of skin. Denied at once, our ruses

For an afternoon cast ‘gainst the light

Of midsummer moons, lie still. There they must

Remain, lost adream, lost in fallen flight

Lost forever in bloodless, vacant lust.

Until the words on a wasted page

Cleave into each other; like wine melts

Inside a waiting glass, the pith of an adage

For the fire burns scathing she felt

That night. The laughter of broken hearts

Strung across sandpaper skies that wept

Like children on the street, loath even to part

With a sinking dawn, only to have slept

The days away. She is gone now, perhaps

Ne’er to return; her warring veil denies

Every man his scarlet nest, and when the women gasp

She leaves the empty halls of vice

Unfilled. What if, my daughter asks,

He killed her again? Still sore but stunned,

I say: ah, you should know then, my girl,

A woman can die only once.

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