The first time I was led by a girl
through bracken to a cave
that had a view over stony ground
her bare feet tip toed through kangaroo
grass and she wove her hand into mine.
She wanted to talk art like 15-year-olds do
so I said something about Dali or Dada.
Water would have helped, that metal tang
would have eased words in the mouth
but her neck was long, curved long
with an open throat stretching toward me.
Her dress shushed at my crotch
and that newness was lost as lips
twisted around a rhythm unattainable
to people so young. But the dirt knew
and the stones knew that this hard
clasping tenderness would flood
a life as the blunders of a body
began in a heat so low down
bursting calamity into an ear.
The weight of another body is welcome
until it is on top of you, all its sticky
traction, the sun flaring as she toured
my face in the hope there was more to me.
As we lay in bed
I was thinking how dark it was
so dark in that room
as outside the bruised moon
struggled to draw
shadows from trees.
I wish I could say I took you
that our limbs looped
that our thoughts never cut
the coppice of our bodies
but the night didn’t go like that.
Overhead, the planes moaned
as the sheets between us
got colder and unsettled
and the dark got pitch
and never let us sleep.
Sam Morley is a poet whose work has been published by a number of journals including Cordite, Red Room Poetry, Hunter Writer’s Centre, Portside Review, Canberra Times, Bluebottle Journal, Overland, and Antipodes and has appeared on noted shortlists including the ACU Poetry Prize. He lives in Melbourne.