still life

i slept last night in our bed alone
cramped tight against sweat-
smothered pillows and wrapped up
in winding-cloth sheets
wilted like the flowers you left
on the kitchen table a lifetime ago,
lily petals sagging and baby’s
breath crumbling to ruin
amidst a jumble of empty glasses and
yesterday’s neglected news;
this morning even the coffee smells
lonely.

_____

il mio cuore selvaggio/ my savage heart

breathes uncertainly,
each seething beat
an inscrutable master
dancing over the graves
of my ill-sung epics and
leading me on hands
and rug-burned knees
through sunken grassblades and
gravelled shag, leaving me
curled up and fetal in the center
of a white-sheeted bed
too large
for a single person,
too small to hold me
safe
from the nightmares of escape
that press into my back again
and again, fingertip-pulses
of flashing neon slipped
between shoulder blade and sinew,
laced tight into the wet hollows
of my soul,
promising.

drowning

In the chaos of raindrops and leaf-fall
you can hear her crushed sigh through
the smeared windowpane and almost
almost discern the lap of pale flesh
by dark waters, gasps uttered for a shadowy prince
from an untried throat, their echoes left for dead
against the cold of the floor;
salt stains her thighs and the glass while
smudged mascara runs down flooded cheeks,
her fingers groping for an anchor, a body, anything
to stop the inundation of her soul.