I accumulate loss like pebbles at the beach,
Inconsequential at first; heavier as time passes.
The absence of light but also of birdsong,
Of rain’s insistent voice.
Only the heart’s pulse, magnified in darkness,
To pull me down to a humid sleep,
To be my mother, to hold me to
The marriage-bed of rock.
And all the while he crouches, insubstantial
Except for breath, which is the metre of his being.
Measured and unhurried. Like water,
He has aeons to wear down all living things;
And my own lifetime to wear down me.
Underground, the minutes thicken. The air is clotted
With time, the hours explode like a galaxy in the brain.
Grain and mother, season and tide, gone. He has a sweating
Bride of earth, amnesiac. There is a tapping,
A falling of seeds, a sweet blackness held to my mouth
And refused. A thirst for melody instead, for threshing songs,
For harvest and all bounty, for night’s cessation.