In a thick dark
I lick my sunburnt lips.
From the other side of the door I hear your shuffling.
You open the door.
I smile a guilty smile.
You look at me.
You do not smile.
Where is your hair? you ask.
Did you save it?
You stand in the bath, back turned to me, hair gathered up.
I turn the bar of soap between my hands.
Make a thick lather, you say.
I soap your back with the bar.
Please, with your hands, you say.
I soap your back with my hands.
You rinse with the handheld shower. And plead:
One more lather?
You must make a call.
As you withdraw in your face becomes surface.
You have left it there, placid,
a thing to be rippled.
Your shoulder presses the sill.
Your loosed gaze catches on my face like blown cotton.
Your hands find themselves.
Make the call.
It is done.
Summer evening I press my belly into the waist high wall.
I want you to stand beside me, pressing your belly into warm stone.
I want you to light the oil lamp on your balcony.
I want you to walk to the corner, and pause, and look up, and forget where you are.
I want you to meet the man who counts birds at the corner.
I want you to count birds.
Do you know the man who counts birds at the corner?
He exists. He is really there.
Do you know him?
This autumn night two high heels clicking down the dark street
underneath your bedroom.
Across a river of air a man lit
by the small light of his cigarette.
Inside my hands rest on the desk.
My reflection in the screen watches my fingers.
The man flicks his butt towards the clay amphora positioned
just there, for just that,
and is extinguished.
I want to be scared. I want a sticky sweetness
hovering in the air above the couch
like a heat wave.
I crane my neck to look.
I had thought of family resemblances.
I had thought I wear a stranger’s hands on my wrists
or: I wear your hands on my wrists.
Neither is quite true.
I am the ghost I desire.