The Rules of the Kitchen

Vol XXX, Afterwards



I’d left the curtains open
to let the light flood in.
I wake sick-hot in a haze
as I have done every morning this June,
sometimes drunk, sometimes not
in my first foreign room.

You lie next to me.
A faint wind falls in past the curtains.
The sun overpowers the sweet breeze,
so any slight cold breath
could never really please.

When I say next
I mean close, or anywhere.
Your hand as though
around me or on my chest.
The obvious distance, incongruous next
provides, itself, a heated test.




When You Are With Me

it is a shame this is not enough to sustain us.

They say maybe we’ve changed, drifted apart.
I say who we are is who we’ll always be.
Rather, it’s the distance to where we leave each other,
or those who come in between,
that could change this.

With us the same then, realise
how easily this could happen again.





While I still have things to do
While I go jogging
While the near future sustains me
While I want to read
While I watch tv
While you live so close
While I wait to leave
While I look at photos for an hour or two
While I run into people in the street
While I drink with them
While I write lists
While I complete those lists
While I wish the lists were longer
While I eat and sleep with myself
While all the while I see you in everything




 ‘When a peregrine spears a pigeon’

When a peregrine spears a pigeon,
dropping like a stone, its design
is evident: the air taken away from
the nostrils; the third eyelid.

Your postcard was dropped inside
an empty postbox.
You will hold it when it reaches you
although I don’t know how.

Clear your mind of trivia and minutiae
and, when it drops in your hands, tell me
what design you reckon for us.




A Guess

There is a shimmer outside
which says it’s raining.
You were ill today, I think.
I have less of a right to know now
than I ever did.

I made a list, I made a list.
Everything possible’s done.
I have a month of this – of lists
and wanting to see more than a flicker of you.





He waited all winter for the trees
to remember they were alive.

He went away for just one week in May.
He came back to a pink lawn and what was left
of the blossom clinging to the branches.

Sometimes when he says memories
or lets her know what he’s thinking
she looks at him with eyes that want to love him.





A pit opens up in the stomach
when you tell me another thing that will always have happened.

As much as I try, nothing works:
it happens again.

It is being with only myself
I am scared of the most,

yet what the mind has
can never unknot what’s real.

To have happened, meaning
to be real;
to have been able to be watched.





I fold your chair to feign finality,
it will be propped up against the drawers
where I keep the receipts of our love.

The chair is mine.
No one else will take its close position for granted
or spend with it a comfy moment.

I will not think of it accompanied at night:
the chair will not leave.
You didn’t have the time to wait so long.





I try to leave it as it was –
the scene you left when you came round.
We had tea. But I forget that every time
is the last, so I sleep where we drank,
pulling the sheets back on, covering myself
like we covered each other.