to find his village wiped out,
like a soldier returning from an unpopular war
to find the gates barred,
his eyes traversed the terrain of his longing,
but the landscape offered him no point of entry.
She no longer keeps the home-fires burning,
she stamps them out
lest they betray the flicker of her ardour.
Across a vast plain of darkness
he sees her there, working in silhouette,
methodically cooling, dousing down their history
from the bottomless bucket of her frozen tears.
Here a memory, there a moment of affection
and over here
every moment she ever arched in ecstasy
or ached with longing at his touch.
“No more, no more,” she whispers, her head bowed
over her breasts, “all fire is consumed by ice.”
His loins and heart debate constantly,
but they are separate animals now and he rises
above them with the lightness of suffering.
Up here, he captures the clarity he was always denied
and he sees her like Venus in a half-shell
attempting vainly to cover her nakedness.
As she recedes from view, she lifts one arm to wave
and her flimsy cloak falls down.
The poet wishes to acknowledge Valley Micropress in whose pages this poem first appeared.