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Loss

 

If your chest quavers and you are moved to touch

Which finger would you choose?

Well, take that finger,

The one you would use to smooth

The mauve eyelid of a lover, the one you’d test the

Moisture between her lips, just before you taste,

The temperature, texture and salt of a full loving,

Take that finger

With all its memory

And draw it across the

Crown of this frail head

And watch the colour ululate,

Ululate, a throat warble, a heartsong.

As the pressure of your

Loving finger depresses the napery of feather, let it progress,

As a real lover would,

To follow the curve from scalp to nape

Where the bones are so tiny,

So heartbreakingly fragile

That tears well in your eye,

let your palm cup the body,

The perfect curve of folded flight,

The mighty power of feather and bone

Yet the lightest breeze can puff them from the page

Lighter than paper,

Stronger than gravity

Weather,

Destiny,

Fate,

But your finger

Can make it shimmer like velvet,

Whisper like love.


 
And love can be the reverence

Of a wetted finger,

Or the regret of a finger stalling on the nape of a dead bird,

But it is still love

And only love.

Some things pass

And we have caused it,

Other things pass and there is nothing we could have done,

So love can be regret,

But regret is always love,

And regret is that the bird is gone,

Disappeared

Because we didn’t love enough?

Or because the angle of the sphere is out of our control,

Also just like love.

 

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Poem Audio

  • Bruce Pascoe reads 'Loss'