Twelve strokes mark the end
of this grave and harshest day –
outlasted by lipstick-stained glasses,
unwashed plates and half-gnawed chicken wings.
I heard your life spoken in inflated eulogies,
and my loss remained undiminished
by mediocre condolences.
Finally in bed, knackered, I toss and turn
strangled in our double-bedded sheets.
Near asphyxiated, my mouth gapes,
your ghosted name escapes. My cries rise –
and rouse nine slender muses,
daughters of memory.
Their mercy prompts kind visitations,
they breach my grief in wafts between
night’s turn and heavy slumber. Feather-light
their hands sweep my wrists, my fingertips –
touch tempts me home, warmth tugs me back
on musk breezes pulsed through fresh-turned air.
I learn to drain my senses of today, replace
these last stark hours with exhumed happiness
buried in mists of myriad yesterdays.
Breath exhaled I lie spread-eagled, open –
relieved as muses stroke my inner thighs/arouse
my nerves/heat my blood as my fingers re-fire
our forgotten molten flow. At last, free of guilt
for my rude health and for your early going,
I’m stirred to love again, tremble
and die my own little death.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Ceinwen Haydon would be
pleased to hear them.