the lover who didn’t speak

many lovers have passed

have asked too much about

things unrelated to the dialect of our bodies

many lovers have opened their mouths

too wide for me not to ignore the sounds

of exaggerated courtships and conquests

too wide for me not to see the teeth

stained by peppered stories of pursuits

but this man, this man in particular

oh, he’s a mouthful alright

in the right places, at the right time

with a language that’s not mine

but the hair standing on my skin comprehends

with neither translations nor explanations

undeterred hands that hold their own language

at the centre of his palms

and they speak to me

sing to me

conversing with me

in tireless twists

moving me on a neat page of cursive inscription

until those proficient hands

bring me as close as one can be

to the soft poetry that flows from the lips

of the gods

when he gets home

and when he gets home
he will tell you
that the dust in your weary eyes
made him look elsewhere
for a twinkle that was once there

when he gets home
he will say to you
the webs on your scalp
made his fingers run through
the fresh curls of another
like the ones you used to have

when he gets home
he will tell you
that the silence between your teeth
had him out searching
for your missing laughter

when he gets home
he will say to you
that the wrinkles on your fingers
sent him to softer hands
like the way you used to brush his skin

when he gets home
he will tell you
that the limp his own body gave him
was of your doing
that a cure was elsewhere

when he gets home
tonight
reciting all the things
you no longer gave him
and the smell of all the places
he had found them
when he gets home
you’ll be long gone
finding all the things
he could no longer give you

the view

they dare not touch

the gleaming windows

of the madam’s big car

the sluggish movement of traffic

a window to grant an audience

they dare not touch

the gleaming windows

but their eyes

their eyes stick onto the glass

like a banner that shouts

‘we are the view’

what did you think you’d see

when you made your way

across the ocean to this land?

we are no lush mountains

we are no cultural ornaments

you’d like to buy at the market

we are the view

we are the image that you’ll forget

as soon as you lay your table

at home, that you’ve made in our home

and you’ll forget the view

of us, the posters, not postcards

with dry tongues and dead eyes

empty bellies

rumbling and begging

hands outstretched, palms brittle

we are the view

we are the dearth, we are the death

“this dirty land”, your blue eyes say