Summer, 2a.m.

In the heat of the night my body
calls to you as a last act of romance.
I hold your hand, sticky with reluctance,
as we walk in dreams the streets we walked
at midnight, no one there, the lights
in the houses out, the one jewel
of your eye that counted for everything.

But you shatter dreams with worry:
what happened then is not now, a man
in black amusing himself in the alley
bringing blood to skin as he took you.
You have never forgotten, and now each kiss,
each gentle touch is coloured with a weariness
that comes to spoil as spoil it does.

And you turn into daylight sleepless, an image
in mind given from our bodies touching
last night for only the second time.
Come, I say, let me wipe exhaustion from your eye
but you do not reply, the soft down of your skin
wasted through a man no one ever knew.
But this I do know: I have never found another

bright as summer as you, spry
with wit of happiness that has waited
for all this to come, you there in mind
and body, waiting, waiting, until your mind
wanders back to the mask he wore,
the smell of petrol on his hands, the sharpness
of the knife held against your throat.

I suppose there never will be an ending
although I could not rightly say, not having,
like you, my innocence examined at night.
So now this evening we will walk again in dreams,
the street lights softened in a rain
that gently falls, cleaning memories out
if only for a moment allowing fortunes

to bring us together, the notion of division gone
as flowers will bloom in the spring of their winters
following the cold profanation of summer.

John Cornwall

If you've any comments on his poem, John Cornwall would be pleased to hear from you.