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My second favourite heresy


In the half-light of a quiet night warming,

the friend I know will change. We

haven’t been burnt too fiercely yet,

like sailors but more than bound

to rigging of our own generation,

the one woman, the one man.

Breath warmer, sweeter; eyes bottle-

broadened and beer-soft. On screen are

projected across Vauxhall that

corduroy face, those miracle hole-

punched shadow-hands. The lamp

flickers just once as you hold me before

goodbye. What minutes could be lovelier,

longer than these?

Sleep-seized broderie edges of a thing

born in confusion and borrowed sorrow

are dressed for a chapel garden party where you,

inevitably, get drunk, an Anglican communion

of wine-stained linen and muffled

inhalation. Place your lips around a bottle

of Becks or spill upwards in a lemon

and ginger haze; and here is love,

in a succession of what might be jokes. Around the

corner waits death, hands on my hips,

and in here is my chance, once, for sleep.

By M I A I

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