White thorn, crimson hips.
Pleasures of the without. Pain of the without.
Venus tucks low here, disappearing
into the mountains’ stadia.
What I can’t say, stepping into foreign tense
of river, magnetic sluice, arctic tongs,
far-off source without mercy or care for me.
My love has stories not mine to know
or ever tell. Bruised fringe, black & white maiden hair,
lupine, fox ferns, do I project?
Sometimes. I have a rash beneath my shirt,
pubis to lonely breasts. To pass a melancholy hour,
John Clare copied from the Stamford Mercury
news of the elderly: old lady by name of Faunt,
who at 105 “has lately cut new teeth,”
a parish clerk, 115, “now able to read without spectacles,
& dig graves.” Sad swipe of late middle age,
waters brutishly beautiful & full of flame.
Thus runs the world alway, & we incurable
in its sway. Say it: the world taketh.
But even its farthest reach is ours,
shed molar of horizon I pluck up & carry, wet, away.