I went for Christmas, my first time away
and was the only woman (barely so).
I got the bed with sheets. I got to share.
The room was cold, the window bullet holed
through some stray misdemeanour of lost boys
who kept the house their mother had forsook
and kept it badly, and yet welcomed me.
And in the living room there was a fire
and I was new in love with my sweet man
whose parents dwelt in faith and charity
and wouldn’t let us sin beneath their roof
but fed us good things, made us cups of tea
and asked us every day to catch the bus.
We would behave whilst there, then drink our fill
of one another’s hearts, bodies and minds.
In that cold bedroom we bloodied the sheets
and washed them in cold wet that wouldn’t dry.
My truth was mine whatever others thought.
On Christmas morning, lost boys went away,
my lover gave a gift of pineapple
we shared it, juices dripping down our skin.
And then, without the buses, we set out
to walk the eight miles to the house of faith
to eat a rich terrine and watch TV.
My love was tired and cold and took a pill
to ward off pains that sought to find a place
and we walked to the cold house through the dark
full clouded night, through constant wind and rain
and he and I were soaked and shivering
but he was burning up and went to bed
where wind blew cold right through the bullet hole
and yet he sweated on the sheetless bed.
I saw him suffer triangles of pain.
The next day was my last. I took him home
and went myself, back to my well made bed
and that was not the end, though the end came.
That truth is ours, no matter that we part.