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Drinking me under the table on our first date
you rummaged in your bag for cigarettes
as I wedged myself into the corner of the snug,
focussing on your thin beauty across the Guinness
and the flow of your finds:
half a Mars bar, a carmine lipstick.
And as if this was to be a good sign
you placed in my hands a velvet pouch,
nap caught with the fluff,
and I could feel inside a fragment,
the puzzle of a rotten golf ball
or just a stone. You revealed it to me:
your father's arthritic hip,
the lump of bone neatly sawn by a surgeon
pitted with the fine craters of a distant world.
A silver casket on the mantelpiece of your room,
the ash of his body in a transparent sachet,
you wanted me to hold him -
the dry grit of a desert through the plastic.
You still linger, sleepless,
in the pink mirage of the great deserts
where all bones must go.
You claimed to drink like him
and holding mine wanted to know
what it was like to have balls,
what it was like.
I lay in your pink sheets,
a sensation of silk and sand, listening
lingering in the pale shimmer before dawn
where fathers come to stroll.
© Stephen Dunkan
© E-magazine LiterNet, 06.05.2004,
№ 5 (54)