by Jenny Blackford
His hair is not so thickly darkly beautiful
as it once was, that goldenbright summer
when we first loved, High Priestess and Priest
of our own ecstatic seaside sect.
His hands trembled when first they touched
my hands, my throat, my breasts,
in that season of kisses and tears
between the swelling ocean and the yearning lake.
Night after night our bodies sang out each to each
calling from single bed to not-so-distant single bed
that might as well have been on Venus' stormy seas
or Mars' red sand—our yearning
wider than the blue-black gulf
between the stars.
I'm glad to say his eyes were never cold.
The March wind's mostly warm here,
though sometimes the sea breeze
brings cool relief for overheated skin.
It never howls like wolves
with blue-grey glacier chips for eyes,
down from the frozen North.
His hair's still beautiful, though not so thick
and mostly silver now.
He'll still recite "Byzantium" to me
after a glass or two of wine.
There's not much call for yearning, since
we're seldom more than a few steps apart.
But when we yearn,
it's just as wide and blue
as that first year.
Jenny Blackford’s poems and stories have appeared in Australian Poetry Journal, Westerly, Going Down Swinging, and Cosmos. Her poetry prizes include first place in the Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Poetry 2017, the Connemara Mussel Festival Poetry Competition 2016, the Humorous Verse section of the Henry Lawson awards in 2014 and 2017, and third in the ACU Prize for Literature 2014. Pitt Street Poetry published an illustrated pamphlet of her cat poems, “The Duties of a Cat,” in 2013, and her first full-length book of poetry, The Loyalty of Chickens, in 2017.