Now the River
Oh, but listen: down the far side the scrunch
of soldiers' feet in scree. Here is all the quiet
that a heaving chest can manage. Here
for five minutes, the war is over.
here and there. Fingertips pulled over
soft warm flesh.
Soft, pulsed nursing
At that little hooded nub of flesh,
Rose red in the dusk: trembling, ticking over
like a tiny bird
in a thicket at sundown.
Swans rear up indignantly, bugling
and sparring; beyond them the river runs away;
the cars on the bridge open their eyes wide
and bring on the night they are trying to dispel.
The rust-red steel clenches both banks, darkening
to old, clotted blood.
Unstranded, unbuckled, unworded
Love-sucked, undone, unmade, unmanned.
A husk in the starlight, turned backwards at the ends;
My hair falls loosely, as the wind blows it
here and there.