Your ear like a shell, cream-coloured
And tinged with a flush
Around the smooth edges,
In the early sun.
Your skin like finest sands
With the dawn upon them.
A curling lock of your dark hair,
Lank on your forehead,
Moist with the night.
Your neck proudly arched,
Like a harp’s harmonic curve,
Strings echoing a chiming clock.
And when I rest my head on
Your youthful breast
I hear the faint sound of passing time…
Her look, a muted moan, brimful with self-mockery, doubt,
Searching above my brow, never meets my eyes.
The smell of fear obscured by some pastille perfume,
Pervading the very air I breathe.
Sharp eyebrows thundering,
Her anger tears the fabric of illusion;
Then – after a moment’s hesitation – it is sealed again,
Leaving searing scars somewhere deep.
I turn, I bow, I kneel, I freeze,
Let the storm blow over my bent head,
My scourged shoulders stinging with the echo of the pain
Hidden in her half-turned face.
She smoothes back her hair, controlled again – spent?
Takes her hat and coat, snuffs out the candle.
One step, two, she is out of the box, gone.
The only remains inside: her scent, and I – suffocating in the dark.