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Lad's Love (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books Ltd, 1993)    

Love Talk
Night Watch
Writing for Two


Love Talk

You told your mother, so I told my son.
'To be rid of that Jocasta crap', I said.
But as we lay together between sky and sea,
half-sheltered from the wind by marram grass,
the myth still lay between us, didn't it?
That's why I closed your eyelids, crooned
words – how a playful, radioactive breeze
could snuff us out in no time. (Politics?)

Your answer: 'Just so long as we both go
at once, like this', was what I wanted
as you closed in and your face grew  featureless.
Such deaths we live, invoking even
an ill wind  to lay the ghosts of myths
that should be long out of season – to rest.

Night Watch

'I thought you'd died, and I was scared to death.
You just stopped breathing for what seemed like ages.'
Perhaps you dreamt it or perhaps I did,
but I remember that, throughout the night,
at frequent intervals you thumped my back,
quite gently but enough to jump-start my heart,
just in case, although you don't remember that.
You didn't want me dying in your sleep.

It was a comfort to me. I relaxed
into the measure of  your beat like a foetus
lulled by sea-thuds as in amniotic waters,
utterly secured by the lifeline between us,
but by morning you were upside down in bed.
You didn't want me dying in your birth?

Writing for Two

Today I made up words for you to write
in your hand. (I've assimilated it.)
Your letter throbbed with longing, said
you couldn't eat, sleep, work or anything
without me, said you'd give the world if
we could only start again from scratch.

I sealed the envelope, addressed it to myself
marked urgent, stamped it, ran to catch the post.
Tomorrow I shall have a reason to get up.
My heart's already thudding at the thought
of one white envelope addressed in your hand
lying on the mat. Maybe I'll pick it up,
chuck it in the bin, shan't read it. You get fed up,
sending junk mail back marked 'Unsolicited'.


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Sylvia Kantaris
Last updated: 06 December, 2000