He stretched himself alongside her to smoke a cigarette
with all the ceremony of an opium dreamer.
He felt for her heart where her breast seemed to cling to his hand.
He wrung her nose, struck her on the cheeks
and bent her fingers. He held her pulses hard,
a beautiful body so smooth no bones ever showed,
much more like fire than light. He watched her with fascination.
The sun was drying her. His hands touched her rich hair
and braided it, one strand losing itself among the bedclothes
where he found it later, shining, electric.
Venus, fastened in the arms of Adonis, beat his embracements
with her heels. He held her feet in his hands, locked her
with such a force that her bones cracked. She laughed in her chains
and said, ‘You’re suffocating me,’ then fell back, became herself–
sea and sand and moisture in a Chicago apartment.
‘Graze on my lips,’ she commanded, ‘and if those hills be dry stray lower.’
He got impatient with the skirt. He would not put out the light,
his mouth on her throat, kissing the words he could not utter,
each several limb doubled. Twined about her thigh to make her stay.
Now it’s dark and he’s on his knees in the living-room
like a pilgrim before his television, arrested by the sight of a man
trying to pull a nude body from the sea. He cannot take a shower
without remembering the feel of her wet skin, plucking a clean towel,
emerging like that of Venus coming out of the sea.