Your first hotel room in Paris
could hardly threaten a heaven,
the idea of sex hung in the air
like lichen on a waterless fountain
— that room, in truth so ordinary,
if not for the woman having no key,
lying there in the afternoon sun,
her lipstick already gone.
The purest thing about it,
was a red bed cover and
the screams of school kids
falling from the open window,
like stones or leaves.

Your body was still young, fevered,
nothing final had ever hurt you,
the orange sun, the purple stars
were all shining at your feet.
Yet on your lips the taste of something
forlorn oozed, something ignored,
lying as if under water, in a cold,
unchanging light —
As you lowered your hand
with that careless necessity
to have my jeans and cunt opened,
I felt kisses falling down my throat
like gravel, taking me closer
to disaster.

I knew since that clear blue day
where we were going.
I knew your mouth wanted me closer
than you were to yourself.
I measured the impossibility.
That day your kisses fossilized
in the red silt of my heart,
and like seashells, replicated
your sighs, while I sank
into the cold
unchanging light.

There lived the negative of you,
your phosphorecent ruin,
and love, unsuspectedly,
had the shine of it.
I remember I felt a sharp cut
as I realized the cruelty
of intimacy, the requisite cruelty
of lovers, forever unexposed.
The kids’ uncontrolable laughter
kept rolling on our skin,
unchanged, altered by nothing,
not even the decline of the sun.

In the dissolving light, that day,
I entered utterly broken
but with a freedom so plain
that I began to bloom from ache.
No one could follow me there,
it was such a private spring.
My old soul refused to look at me,
the world thought I was insane,
and love, no longer hiding its cost,
agreed with it —
I was unrecognisable.