louise carter


His smoke rings were like circus hoops
through which her attention span was leaping,
reaching to grab the gauzy rims
and float serenely upwards.

Then the conversation thinned
like paint in methylated spirits
or houses on a long car ride,
the landscape easing open.

Head cocked in the guise of listening,
she’s walking through his long grass
in the cool shade of twilight,
an apron full of secrets.


Constriction, relief, constriction – the clench and clench and squeeze and squeeze, the ropey strength of tree roots strangling each other – the ecstasy, ecstasy. Joy fights to escape, flings itself against the insides of her skin, lips stretched back to gums and teeth and teeth and teeth and the sick gluey swallowing sweetness of sugar water, stripped naked as if set ablaze on a pyre of polystyrene, suffocated by their own skin – the witless panicked breathless release.

Oh sweet oh sweet oh fuck, the tongue, the tongue, the slip the lick the warm warmish crevices – suckling the pink teat of pleasure, nourishing like good love – like good love, good love, a good thing – synapses fused in an infinite mirror, steel rods between their eyes, the moon above like a white goddess pouring every available drug down a forced-open funnel, forcing them across grass and into the pool, to the softness of water, soft whole and baptismal – suspended inside a clear dream, painless and cool and quiet and clean.


There's a shimmering, still.
The far-away buzz of whipper-snippers
like the outer edges of a cymbal
salting the endless rolling lawns.

Mortal. With bones and muscles
to consider, pangs and bruises;
encased in their separate skins and
deaf to love. Wobbly-kneed

in the queasy daylight of an upstairs bathroom,
daddy long-leg webs aquiver
with water droplets; they search
the mist to find only outlines
of each other, unseeable now
through the cataracts of affection.

That's it, the window's shut;
dead-bolted. The draft, snuffed.

Hairless and shiny, pig-skins
in brine, her thighs meet his lips
and she opens. Nowhere
to retreat, the coaxed tickle of want
becomes the savage itch
of need. Oh please, she prays
to a callous Old Testament God,
splayed outwards for the sun's warmth,
desperate to live; she comes.

They didn't speak much that afternoon.
They didn't need to.

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