I avoid speaking your name in conversation,
throwing it to the air as if it were nothing
more than an assumption of you; it is my last
mode of defence. The last item of clothing
to discard before I realise I’m naked in public.
Because they can hear it in my voice. I know.
Even in that one short syllable that means
everything and nothing; your name is as common
as you are rare. As easy as you are not.
As simple as love should be, but never is.
But when I’m alone, I tie my tongue softly
round the familiar sound, as if pronouncing
with conviction the phonetics of desire
will cause time to pause just long enough
for the earth to hear me naming my loss.
Don’t ask me about his lips. How they ruby and burn. Stretch full over white teeth, taut like a drum. I want him to make music of me.
Don’t ask me about his hands. The way they are scarred with stories. How they slide thick down his legs as I stare. Mouth cotton; eyes hungry.
Don’t ask me about my hunger. The way my stomach drops tight when he looks at me. The way my palms itch for his bones. Don’t ask me about my fear. The way he comes to me.
How I open my mouth to say “Yes” and it comes out “I’m sorry.”"