Afterwards there are rucked covers,
Lost pillows and a bed at sea in a storm.
Before there was skin, hair in the wind,
Saliva blown from mouths, a dark slow river twisting
Through the jungle night. We kept our voices low,
In the hunt across the starlit stillness of water –
The ju-ju drums of our hearts beating scary magic.
I held you tight and squeezed you to sleep; you would need
your strength for the journey, I reasoned. And anyway, there are
Bright native eyes glittering between the leaves
I figure you’ll not want to see them. So I pull
You closer, sweat with you, taste your hair
read the Braille of your spine and imagine it would
be sublime if those words had been written for me.
And now you need to leave here – this jungle.
So, ever the gentleman explorer, I smuggle you out down river.
To a grey harbour, where I will put you on a dawn boat,
Watch you steam down to a beauty-mark on the horizon’s lip.
I turn. I breathe something in – your taste is still in my mouth.