Grey mist drifted from the Celtic Sea
Through streets heavy with visible sorrows.
Morning sighed awake to the sound
Of tyres slapping on a wet road surface.
In rooms where sleep has been a refuge
Through the dying hours, thoughts stir,
Angers and resentments reawaken.
And are not soothed by breakfast chaos
or the rattle of Cheerful cups.
In one house an alarm rang unheeded,
No kitchen chorus hailed the dawn.
A woman sleept on, a fearless sleep,
her dark, heavy lashes resting
like butterfly wings upon her cheeks.
Breathless traffic sweated exhauted toxins
Into the tired air; factories coughed into life,
Spitting their poisonous sputum
at a soiled sky. In one workshop
an empty bench screamed warnings
at fellow workers, but nobody heard.
Across town the woman slept on.
Beside her small yellow pills danced
across a tabletop, and a bottle,
half empty, kept a lonely vigil
beside a note. "Goodbye, I'm sorry,
I could not bear to stay. The burden might
have seemed lighter if just for once
somebody could have said they loved me."
I heard of her lonely death much later,
Remembering at once the dark eyes,
Jetstones cut cabochon and set in soft cheeks,
Clasped by heavy butterfly lashes.
Quick laughter, too loud as if let loose
only infrequently. Her pleasure of me
urgent too, as if the dead - march beat
Of some rough hand upon my door
Might steal the moment from her.
Long gentle fingers stroking my skin,
The strength in slender arms that bound
Like an enchantment. And her body, supple
as a wand and hungry as the North Wind,
blowing from a cold waste, demanding me.
Always at the end her stiletto qustion:
"Do you love me just a little, not to keep
But for now, for just this moment
can you please say you love me?"
But I was young and did not understand
the dice she cast were not for me.
Nor did I see sadness touch her face
as my evasions, like blows of another's
brutal fist bruised and hurt her.
At the moment she had to leave
she would cling, slipping on her jailor ring
before retreating to her loveless bed,
where dawn would bring home the beast.
I was not cruel enough to lie nor
wise enough to tell the truth.
When time shifted my orbit I never
wondered why she had to ask "please
will you - can you - say you love me
just a bit, just for the hours we have.
Finding the grave behind an ugly church
I knelt and with a finger traced the letters
of her half forgotten name. Time freed me
to feel again love's heat and taste
the sweet gifts in her kiss.
It was too late
but still I laid a rose upon the ground
and beside it placed a note that read,
"after all these selfish years I promise;
I still love you - More than a little."