I’m stood in front of a hedge maze –
there are three doors and each is locked
with a different kind of black lock
whose keys aren’t quite biting the pins
There are thirty keys, so varied
in shape and their material –
the silver key seemed right but snapped
ejecting a tiny blank scroll.
I knew that here, invisible
was the map to find the lost key –
but I tried to heat it and see,
a lemon juice script darkening,
when the whole scroll just exploded
into a tart lavender dust
(I’m sure I can see lavender
through one of the keyholes. But which?)
I bend down to look again, then
lean unthinking on a handle
and its door swings sweetly open
with the sound of a barnyard latch
I step through quickly and so, fall
through a trapdoor into a pit
and that’s what loving you is like
goddammit! I must brush my teeth
I sit and play around with you
like a dolphin enjoying the
water round a quiet ship – ice
soon takes the water and I leave.
A buttercup has been crushed here
all its petals are gone. I want
to find the key to unlock you –
not to know you, just to see a
smile break. Then a dog wanders up
oh holy dog. Accomplishes
with presence what I had failed at
attempting to stand on my head!
Sophie the dog gets scratched and I
see George Trakl’s pastoral field
scattered with corpses and blue mist
over the nebulae of grass
evaporate under our field
borrowed here on Hampstead Heath, sun
is altered and wizened by the
clouds that pile like a rock slide.
The entire sky is the open eye
of god, examining us
up close. And so few conclusions
are drawn. The eye begins to close
After asking permission to sit
I held your hand and examined it;
five pages, each embedded with more meaning
than infinite libraries. I flicked
from page to page, and finally
I touched the palm, this mystic object
I could not parse, not then.
Deaf to your breathing, your signature, your eyes
I let it fall, then left the bed
and left your room, and you.
I do not think we ever spoke again.
Histories and worlds enfold this move
inevitable as it was; from here it seems the fulcrum
of a trajectory not taken –
As an old satellite, decaying orbit
suddenly snags the atmosphere and falls
silent in the darkness, till the planet’s roaring
shakes it out, it rips apart;
just so, I left the building.
And now, from time to time, in another land
I dwell upon your hand.