TO REPEAL THE SPOILS
They dream continually of enriched uranium.
Only the words are irreplaceable:
fixed languor and tardy dolour.
While you were listening and not paying attention
Ulysses lashed himself to the mist.
Show me your scar again, Ulysses
those volutes and the reappearing
numbness. That was your great discovery
an unreasonable desire for poetry while
swallowing blood. Now you find me shaking something
Penelope’s chevril glove, unharmed in the debris
on a worn-out carpet.
Just as the larks lose all sense of their bodies
so you are wearing your skirts much higher
every night in my bed. But my flight of bemusement
will not add up. The occasion demands flight
with its opposite number.
And I am on the verge of a steel vice
with a grief that spares nothing.
If and only if in twenty years time
I have no one else to write for
death will be borrowed and never returned
death will be flitting in the silence.