[The satisfying lover]
…loses himself in you, spends the whole night looking and finding himself
again in stairwells, wardrobes, under the bed. Morning comes and he runs up
the stairs, cheeks pinked by frosted air, blue shadows under his eyes.
Clambering into your warm bed he makes a tent of linen and eiderdown;
presses his mouth to your mouth. You are a millpond. Drawing one sharp
breath he dives in; curls and turns against the dark water like a carp. You are a
labyrinth. He burns the ball of twine and enters blind. You are a knotted
shoelace. He kneels to unpuzzle you. You are the score he sight-reads and he
sings you sweetly. And when the door is locked, the window beyond reach?
Then he lifts you up, steadies you as you scale him, foot on his knee, then
cupped in his hands. He does not flinch when you grip his shoulders with your
toes. Sways and braces himself as you unclasp the latch, push the window wide
and step over the sill.
[The careless lover]
…stumbles against you crying in the stairwell. Below, your sixteenth
birthday party comes to a slow boil. He comforts you with a hug that
slides down until his hand is on your arse. And in a careless moment you
are on your sister’s bed, the Hello Kitty duvet ruched under your bare
thighs. The clematis rattles dry fingers against the window but he is
heavy, determined. And lying under him you remember the steel-toothed
rat-trap. Your mother said, “Don’t touch!” but of course you did. You see
him again; you like the bite. He fucks you in a nest of bracken in the
forest, against the brick wall behind the Stoker’s Arms, in the back of his
Ford Cortina. He calls her Rusty, another redhead. One night you flinch
and he bloodies your nose. The next gives you a moonstone ring and you
do not ask how he came by it. He sends you to sweet-talk his dealer; ask
for one more week. The careless lover is out when they force the lock
and tear the flat apart. You hide in the airing cupboard and remember the
shocking fierce leap of the trap as the steel jaws snap. Hear the big man
shout, “Where is she?” Good question, you think, and sit tight.
REBECCA HURST writes poetry, essays, and libretti. She is artist in residence at the John Rylands Library, and a founding member of the Voicings Collective. Her poetry has appeared in: Rialto, PN Review, Agenda, Aesthetica, The Clearing, and Magma.