If I could, I would give myself
to some unknowing God, tribal chief,
prostrate bone against blood – if it
meant that all of you were safe forever.
To be kind, this crushing sense of love –
it permeates the skin, a henna tattoo.
I feel its breath, pressing down on my back,
a cape of self-absorbed sighs, billowing,
like fog on the moors. It rolls around
in my palms and curls up in my fingers.
It lingers as I open and close my hands,
like hazard lights at a junction. We’ll all
move on. Utterly defeated and swept,
I just want something to grab onto:
be it frayed rope, burning candle-
wick; barbed-wire vine.
Final draft. Thanks to everyone who gave feedback, especially Dan.