Flesh of my flesh

Flesh of my flesh, woman grown;
intimate stranger, inhabitant of a land
foreign to me, and wild,
you wrestle with life in a tense
and amorous dance to distant music
in a complicated rhythm,
for your ears alone.
Slender fingers digging deep,
you mine experience
for nuggets of precious wisdom.
Your truths yowl and screech in the night
like neighbourhood cats
on a backyard fence,
and your flesh burns incandescent
with the intensity of your vision.

Words tumble, bright and nimble,
from your tongue as you tear into concepts,
gnawing huge chunks and spitting out the dregs.

In anger, you are implacable. You grow fangs,
neon eyes shoot sparks,
and passion streaks your hair
like heat lightning before a storm.

Yet gentle and sweet is the eye of your hurricane,
tender as warm silk, fresh as a rainbow after
long drought: a red hibiscus, all petals and pollen
and a fine unnecessary beauty
to stun the senses.

And even as I reach out to you in blast-furnace love,
I study you like a foreign language,
that this prosaic womb has authored such a being:
bright fey star-child, mercurial as windsong,
deep and eternal as the moon.

And now and then fear stabs my breast
and leaves me gasping – that you will one day shatter,
precious crystal goblet, against the unyielding wall
of your hard truths, or implode
into the furnace of your passion,

and all that will remain
in my open, aching palm
will be a whisper of silver ash,
lifting into the wind.

flesh of my flesh goblet
Susannah, 1989