THE PAIR OF YOU
said, that twosome
that adds up the sum.
Brought in together,
the found pair of me,
my family voice.
No mimicry, this
matching, no miming,
calls us jointly new.
Our paired belief,
takes fear, accepts
each animal mistake.
Eyes leap in the reach of his whole body
for the flow from the tap. That thing! What
is it? Rushing stick licks his fingers. On his hands
like skin and not. He pats the silver pressure,
soft-soft animal, hard-hard drum and it clings
to his palm and then not – gone.
He star-splashes till it shoots to his T-shirt
and is not. Searches the shape of the stain
for the life of drops. Gone.
Then he squeezes his thumb to the mouth
of the tap, loving the tight buzz of spray –
whoa – on the T-shirt, on Cherry’s skirt, out onto
the floor. Oh! He laughs. Gone. This running glass,
thinned to a noise and spreading and gone.
Tap off. Wet, I say. No concept of wet. He pulls
the plug. All that was there is not there. The light,
slippery thing that held its own skylight and disk
of sky – gone. And he did gone. How, he’s not sure.
He bends to study the pipes. Down to a hole
in the street, I say. He Peter Pointers down.
He tries to open the tap, gurns a little.
He’s aiming the plug straight in, dangling the
chain at the same time. He’ll explore this
hovering balance for several weeks.
I nudge the tap. He opens it, squeals at the tap’s
gift. Cups and claps the rope of flash, then pulls
the plug and gapes at the vanishing. Gone.
But more where that came from.
Always more. Such wasteful abundance.
We measure love’s time in water at the sink.
Then I will pluck him up. Dry his hands. Distract
him with a passing miracle: Look! A plane!
Change the T-shirt. We’ll head to the park where
ducks live on water but we do not touch or
play there. Deep. Deep. No concept of no.
Or shallow. Good water or bad water. Uli’s
water and the waters of the world, where
he’ll taste, dive in, swim, fly over, sail
and call his home.
OFF SAILOR'S PATH
Try the impossible: write what sex ghosts us with:
the manned pleasure of my limbs on hers;
her hips a bridge that I cross to need her.
Start with landscape: walking the Long Reach.
Silver estuary sand like a river that has set.
The dog and I wanted to cross it. She called us
back. A lesson in adventure here: when enclosing
becomes closure, ebb does not return, slip-slide back
along the jetty, hands finding a free way to hold on.
Can we stay strange enough to praise this privileging
rush that allows such pleasure? At times we can’t be
fully alone together, as if we must ride someone else’s
route, follow a poem that is not ours to like.
Sometimes an answer arrives through the body
like the first exhalation to stretch a balloon
and my hands make her with a larger breath,
reckless and happy as a bright emergency;
that tender surplus we shape as I hear her rough
whisper, feel her swell and steepen; her face
astounded, rising to the ceiling.
How she lets you child her, makes herself smaller
so you can drive, is easily the hardest thing that
eases in – cannot be planned, rehearsed. Notice
why surrender and submission are so wrong.
It’s a catching – the way one log shares its flame
with another. A taking hold, so both can burn.
Copyright Cherry Smyth 2014
Cherry Smyth is a poet, novelist and art critic. Her latest poetry collection is Test,Orange (Pindrop 2013) and her debut novel Hold Still, was published by Holland Park Press in 2014. She co-curated Limber: spatial painting practices at the Herbert Read Gallery in 2013.