My lovers jut out of photographs
like broken bones. In time, I will shrug them off
coolly, pack them off like bad children
running away from home. In time
they will not hurt me.
My twenty-year old lover on a keyring
had a smile like a shattered plate.
I liked his crooked ways; his broken lips
were a masterpiece put back together.
I feel his mouth out of photographs
blowing my perfumed neck,
sucking my petalled ear.
I pressed to his light like a flower,
chased his sly rays
like a dirty, vanishing tail.
You were awkward in that smoky night
despite your Northern swagger,
sleek-haired charm and trimmed moustache
floating a nervous millimetre
above your lip. Still, it didn’t
move you from boy to man
when I touched you
with the light on
and you hid yourself,
shy as a rabbit.
Every room felt like a crime scene.
Our outlined shapes in chalk on the bed
from those nights when we half-bothered
to arrange ourselves like lovers
and not two friends with over-familiar bodies.
Some nights the crease of your hip was unbearable,
the warm nut of your nipple tedious.
Some nights we cheated with sleep.
The shape of you more stubborn,
more real than a tooth.
I stow them away in the attic.
In time I will twist an old lipstick,
blow the dust off the frames–
sit there quietly picking
blood from a pearly old wound.