Hammocky Heart


You could rock to sleep

against my mitral valve

in and out with the freshened blood

and your cheek against

the smooth meniscus of my

left atrium

or tangle among the strings I keep

in the ventricle.

Hammocky heart that swings

pendulum to my moods and desires

all muscle and strong enough

for two, or more if they need the refuge

and can take their places

right atrium, tricuspid valve,

bedding down against the ventricular septum.


We put you here


With the seashell wash wave there

swimming bones

all the small ones with names like carpals, sesamoid, phalanges

can at last intertwine and rest there mistaken for fish spine

among the debris of the ocean’s sigh.


I remember you with that strange spongey swimming cap

in white flotsam feet up longing out your body to the sea’s

in and out green and glassy

clean like eyes and wild like hair.


When they come to pick over my life like gulls

(scaphoid, lunate, triquetral, pisiform)

can they see in every reflected surface

how we would laugh together and pass it from wave to wave

until we surfed them home?










Like Air


From here you can feel the cold breast of the sky

if nursing here the runnels of rain

have been sucked dry and any warm frames of light

succulent like honey barred beams

dried into powder themselves;

a day bees hate, with grey dissatisfaction

they fluff their buzzing bodies and frown down the wind.


But you, having nursed and found the fire’s warmth

in your bones you have no word for afraid

or refrain no other state than barefoot

even in the mud that licks you as you would lick the rain

and stick wet coldness

will fall off you

like air.





And here, rising parapet

to the timeliness of this grotto song

a fault line fine as a mohair thread

twigged and pulled taut as fish-on-the-line

and teaching these caresses one after the other

the tug the violent thrashes – tail in the air –

and armed like this, hear the heat that rises

magma in the centre all around

melting points, lines in general, fizzed to smoke

leaving just breath on the ferns and diamonds.


Fish jaws pull out of their sockets

long bones, the cartilage spring loaded

to reveal tongue and throat and dark unknowns

of insides, as if interiors were the only motivation

putting in, taking out

life force, all that longing hunger all that

sprinkle of desire

all those cold cold hours before the fire warmed in fully

and took the fish from the sea and

swam them into thigh muscles

involuntary seizure, pain, release

the quiver of ferns and diamonds.


The gods took on promise of everything hard

so nothing would penetrate skin

to keepsafe

from this unpicking, this wayward puncture

but only small mistletoe stemmed outwards from the grotto

and fleshwounded him

so the sky had its

fill of diamonds.