Jenny Danes

Two poems by Jenny Danes

An Unlikely Love Poem
We’re in beating sun, sticky and soaked,
and she’s got her legs out: strong calves,
a patch by the ankle where the razor’s missed.
She’s talking fast, flitting through topics
like finger-dipping-pies, sharp mind firing
over my head. My head’s turned
to listen, and I feel better to notice
she’s sweating too, that sheen
beneath her sunglasses. There’s something
in her profile that blazes, these confident
features; straight sure-of-itself nose, mouth,
a stare to slice you with. I picture her
with a man, all stubble and large hands,
he leans into my vision, blocks her
from me, claims her with his mouth.
You lie small in your bed,
         door open from the long practice
                  of children calling in the night.
I’m feeling young, so I wade
         through the darkness, ask
                  for a cutch. You pull your arm out
and offer it; I kneel, lean
         in to hug the only part I can reach.
                  My face buries in
above your collarbone. I close
         my eyes against the dark,
                  try not to think. I try not to breathe
out straight onto your skin, knowing
         the horrible hot wetness of it.
                  I try to smell you: not sweat,
not perfume, not the duvet’s
         washing powder, not even home,
                  but something inherent, primal,
something of myself, a body,
         the same flesh –
                  the way all children find a pillow
in their mothers’ upper arms,
         how they burrow, heads butting
                  like a cat marking its scent,
or recognising its own:
         this same ilk, this strange,
                  deep comfort.