Audience of One

love rites

The soft, dark curve swimming in the body,
the half-approaching, half-turned away
profiling of the efflorescent face,
the congealed heat in the flashing eyes,
the essential liquid of each drop collected
from the mouth could make one relent:

"These past few years, I'd pretty much
given up on relationships." "I suppose
that depends on how much of a romantic
you are." "Or how much fear you have."
"In fact, that's the reason I haven't called
all this time... because I was scared."
"There's no reason..." "Oh but there is:
I've become quite sensitive; I know
too well how well we get along." You see,

it's true how a true romantic bleeds,
at first, willingly, never renouncing
the knife poised and the bared wrist
held low to the clot-crusted chalice;
but now it's the scarring afterwards,
the raised keloids which make the skin painful
and loath to touch. It is the slowness of pain—
its tactic the denial of speed and skin
and beneath it each stranded nerve
interred with its memories and longing
for other flesh, pliant and sleek
with fragrant emollients distilled
from the curving body, heart-warmed,
and spread through the whole bleeding skin...

Hurry, love, lay out fresh sheets, sharpen
the blind knife, turn up the chalice.
The only life is in fluids.

Kevin Cornwall © All rights reserved.

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