Whenever you are ready

and I am, boy! I was born ready,

that’s great, could you do it again but with more urgency,

imagine there is a storm coming and the last car out of here

leaves in precisely one minute,

excellent, how about trying it carelessly, as though

you don’t give a damn yet in a dusky cavern deep down

in your soul you care passionately about it,

that’s great, this time could you say the lines from a place

of exceeding happiness that you only communicate

with your eyes, good, now can you start with a silent cry

stuck in your throat like a ball of muddy leaves

and you are slowly suffocating, fan-

tastic, could you add to it a touch of mauve, mauve velvet

unfurling on marble stairs, but the stairs are cold

and dirty and you’re not wearing any shoes,

the filth gets on your dress,

can you try it with the smell of death in your nostrils – look!

there is a rotting deer carcass in the corner,

but as you near it you realise it isn’t in fact a deer,

it’s the putrefying corpse of your lover, caress

him – chin a little higher – really good but can you

shout it like a wish on a sterile moon,

wear it like a steel balaclava,

ooze it through your pores like freezing musk

yes I can and I do, I do.


Cristina Haraba