Poetry / February 2011 (Issue 13)

Two Poems

by Mary-Jane Newton

To Peter Weiss
or Albert Blades

Here in my confinement, extinguished lights
draw close the coat of night insects, which brings
to me the loss of things I barely possessed.
You know, your absence weighs heavy — adds
years on top of those that I count mine.

This dark here may or may not concertina time:
I observe the sea of glow-worms spiralling still,
spiralling clearly and ever more beautifully into
the proximity ... the distance ... the proximity
again. After all, memories, like moths,

are drawn unto the very flame that burns
their wings. I feel my fever's heat failing this
moment, so full of expectation, no longer stripping bare
the walls. I see you lift yourself, drooping, hairy dusk;
I imagine another radiance awaits you.

I would prefer things darker in my cage, and so too
the vermin. But my years unfold me now, they unfurl me
like an old, ragged banner whose long arm reaches out to
the horizon behind these dark and angry bars —
and so I watch it flutter gaily now, downwind.

Old Lovers

We are old lovers now.
Like rancid butter we drip
all over the sheets.
We smile at
the mutiny of our bodies
and we lie, holding hands.
We know we both
remember the full moons
during which we chased
our scents like unruly hounds,
during which we burnt
ourselves up like cheap candles,
during which we played gently
each other like instruments,
read each other like Braille,
watched each other
with closed eyes.
Now we lie here,
at once regretful and reconciled,
holding hands
under the duvet.

Editors' note: Mary-Jane Newston's first collection of poetry, Of Symbols Misused, will be published by Proverse Hong Kong in March 2011.
Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.