You show me a bat light-pull and I ask what it is
And you tell me it’s a light-pull in the shape of a bat.
We move swiftly on and talk about
The remarkable phenomenon of octopus-fancying
And I tell you every woman I know
(I may be exaggerating)
Says she’s found herself
In the sex of those tentacles,
To the dim wisdom
Of those forlorn eyes.
You smile then and I leap back
Into sharp-white Catholic summers in Gozo
And the angry lumps of grey flesh that sat
In the mouth like slimy tennis balls,
Obscene swellings we chewed (and chewed)
Because they were free and the waiter seemed to like us.
I merely think this, I don’t say it, obviously,
And, as I float through the past,
You show me a crow in a box
But I don’t even bother asking,
Just touch your hair instead
And want you there, then,
Regardless of whether or not
You’re holding a dead crow in a box.
We look each other straight in the soul
And dance into the kitchen.
I put the kettle on and the dog sniffs my arse.
You start talking to a packet of cornflour
And that’s the moment I really know I love you
And it’s the moment, of course, I always loved you.
And now Billy Bragg’s doing Woody in the lounge,
We laugh at the Carry Onness of that phrase
And I’m whisked away again
By images of the soft autumn light
In your study
And your father’s medals,
How they made me want to cry
And how even now I want to cry,
Embrace his loving of you
And yours of him.
Somewhere my own father
Is smiling at last.
We head up the stairs, your bedroom waiting,
Your skin like reluctant, murmured promises,
Your scent atomic and forever
And yes we head upstairs
And neither of us will ever, ever come here again.
We hear a cat meowing
And, somewhere, a siren.