Finally the key’s in the lock and they’re in.
The couple upstairs have finished fighting
with the door and pour through the hallway
like the dance of a pebble in a pipe. All day
it’s been raining. She shakes off her mac
while he fiddles away at the thermostat.
The radio comes on and gets turned down.
Her coat slips off its hook. He looks round.
Then there she is – her make-up run – ruined
and wonderful: hair sluiced on a rain-ripened
cheek; the drifted smirk of her pursed mouth
and the wet press of breasts on her blouse.
Look how the cloth clutches at each tug,
the quick blush of his hands on her, the snug
match of his palm to her hip. He comes in again
and her neck smells of cardamom, roses and rain.
Until suddenly I’m aware you’re awake:
something’s sharpened in the silence, the break
in your breath has shallowed. I tense up
and through the ceiling listen to the couple
screw: the wooden measure of their love
like tricky stairs taken two by two. Above,
the rhythm forms, fastens, fails . . . I hold
my breath as you turn – then your hand, cold.