This girl sits down opposite me,
her shirt white and riding the space between the passage door
and the bed. Slipping out the packaging like something just soaped
and now asleep in its towel. Expanding, as I count the thread.
She swivels, closer, in her chair.
And there's this canine flash of content. What hides beneath
the hamper and its lid. Her skin is packed like a fresh steak
of rubber. Like a piece of untreated whalebone. Like a fin.
Turning me left as I wouldn't aim in to wanting to touch
the place where her clothes had lifted.
I remember saying this must be an easier thing for other people.
When I think of us as younger, as fourteen,
I think of your small but forever body causing something in me
to stir, which I called (and wrote) maternal so I had an excuse
to touch it, monitoring my hands but never my mouth, loving you
and terrified of you because your judgement was like your face,
both pocked and cyclical.
It's this I came to and went from. Wrecking,
ashamed of what'd happened in the spare room at your Auntie Pam's,
where I had to do the dipping because you wouldn't play the man,
envying you your blonde and wanness, your shock at reading the YOU
magazine phrase for what we did against your Ouma's historical lampshade,
wanting your reluctance, also, for myself.