(For Liz, whose botanical name I now forget)
She’s petite and had a braid.
I am Pete, I said.
We walked through the arcades;
the trees swayed. And silence,
hand-in-hand with intentions, walked ahead.
The harmattan wove its webs and sutures,
cold, like that, is kind to young loves.
Birds sang on the trees, dropping hints
into silence. I sought something to lay
the freeze bare for clarity
Sidestepping love’s essential gothicism,
I tossed the coin:
I confess, like a true poet, that I am
by the sources of things.
Throbbing. Hands. we looked in each other’s lattices.
All sextoned, she rent the gag,
wiping incredulity with a Shakespearean rag.
And Parting time like a bar-room curtain
we recreated a mythology of the garden.
We floated through the arcades, acrobats-on -stilts
looking for botanic roots of things,
bodies, luminous and riverine,
parsing things lustrous and serpentine,
we coursed towards the source of moist.
Peter Akinlabi’s poetry collection, Iconography, is out now.