The Year of White Roses
It is the year of white roses, whose common theme
is death of fathers. I can't be clever today. No sleep comes.
Oh, give me your hand. Walk away with me to someplace
cold and simple. I am heavy with kisses, pregnant with love,
wanting to give what I know only time gives,
wanting to take what can't be mine. Forgive me. It is still
love, as I know it, and the only thing I know.
Listen to the meltwater, old snow dripping from the eaves.
July is under January: in Joburg you can tell
because the layers are reversed, and the light
is hot on thin cotton. Today is perihelion,
our closest approach to the sun: but plainly
what matters is not how close we are but how
we are inclined. Death came to hold our hands awhile
but he is saying goodbye, and we must let him go.
Ice hesitates here in the shadows
of northern walls, but the snowmelt is already
on its way, by cloud, to Africa.