“‘As far as I remember
I have not ever estranged myself from You,
nor does my conscience prick me for it’.”
Paradisio 33.91-3, Trans. J. & R. Hollander
In high school, when I was still just a kid, I thought
like one. And I didn’t think much of you, Miss Priss
—all long legs and big hair. That you refused the kiss
I risked one night earned my dire contempt. I forgot
the slight, but in my mind the thought of you grew dark.
Beguiled in foreign cities, I fell for sisters
with your smile, your light step, your breathless palaver
laughing grace. Years later, crossing a car park
to embrace a stranger, I would hear your voice
and know. Upstairs, you’d gore me with that wild honeyed
tongue, break down my heart and raise it to rejoice.
Bed like the sun, seraphic animals would carol
Love’s noises till I couldn’t imagine when we’d
not been together in this perfect, verdant world.