from Visiting Hours


He peers. Her body bends away again,
tight in its furl of ruched silk,
enough to make his heart curl up
constrained as it is in its wisdom.
He knows his own black lines, prison -
block refraction of some lost design. She
is so full of possibility. A bud
with the blood that makes him sing
of lessons learnt in an early school
- before he stole the dosh and scarpered.
What happened to make her this soft!
He tries to recall an old chorus.
It bothers him. She sits in pose,
back arched like the sky at night,
voluptuous, inscrutable, with all his many questions
held in flesh-toned tension, dipping down
through flat screened fabric, after every round.


Let your eyes enjoy a double wasteland.
It's easy to imagine the inadequate brochure,
promising luxury. The more fool you. Now
you write your satisfaction in the sand,
letting the glare unsettle your white hand
with its beleaguered shadow animals. I want
to kiss you on your blind spot -
here - where an oasis, or a mirage
wets me with what hope we've managed.
Maybe, then, you'll see the missing part,
the subtle waistline and the living heart,
an hourglass of emptiness ringing between us.
My lines are sculpted to this pledge:
one day the air will bloom open,
lay its cream sheet on the beach,
all our insights find their final form,
and thunder make some kind of answer.


Precious in the eyes of the Lord,
the human visage, whether raised or lowered.
He looks down in the casino hall,
watches the table turning. She still hopes
that the clouds will tell her why
you end up losing in the end,
explaining in the very act of rain
how the earth needs a final dissolution.
There's more colour than you bargain for,
every segment of his coat of dreams
fascinating. Every gleaming facet of the rocks.
You make your own abandonment, old thing.
Hard to believe your will doesn't count,
swallows whole handfuls, praying for the best
but ignoring the strange signs and wonders.
Put two and two together. Then invite
Love to your exit strategy. Take flight.


She's being scanned for weapons of destruction.
Security presses her arms, legs, sides, collects
contoured evidence that she's been over there
and slid into what she shouldn't have.
Someone notes what she feels like: bones
alert through the silk of her skin,
eyes like wise mentors, calm until asked
whether she packed herself alone. She nods,
too full of what could finish her.
There's a man on the ground, pretending
he's a soldier. Or an idiot child,
curled hands ready to grasp the button,
make his rattle pay for its mistake,
thump the woman in her cramping stomach,
make her, inadvertently, see stars. They say
that nothing's done by chance. But choice
is a fine cut thing. Deliverance. Remorse.


Go upstairs - there's a strange white light
enticing to this hungry, care-bound woman,
making her think it isn't so bad
to run away from everything at night.
Four walls never stop you falling down
if you really want to. She deserves
to see beyond the limits of structure,
pull the fridge door open, empty it
of too-old invitations, scrub it clean.
Why doesn't he tell her she's alone?
It's such a shock to the body,
the sudden reversal of all its dimensions,
huge organic caverns. It must be a myth
or something you remember from your birth,
the slide from transcendental to harsh breath,
a groaning column, and a flash of freedom
bigger on the inside than the out.

          Sarah Law 2005