March 28, 2008

To The Queen

To the queen.

I give you every first and final toast:

When my upper lip flinches over wine

at wholesome parties

or at quiet meals over the steam of gravy

or tongue sucking flat beer in the garden

or the burn nip of sloe gin on the field,

or on lounge carpets

or the bar cackled binge,

gambling truths for sick-sweet boozes with my friends.


I give you the tips of my money nubbing thumbs,

the insides of my purses, pockets, dash trays, boxes

for your commerce and your metal jowls.

I exchange you, and let you sneak

into the rubber foot-mats of my car.


I give you the journey of my letters and my tongue:

Your head presiding over billings paid,

or regal reverences or thanks

or notes and hopes in secret code

or the tawdry jokes in lemon ink.


I give you my pillow thoughts

as both of us rest our curls.


I give you my lover’s body

piece by piece

on the chopping block of war.


(His heart was always yours)


He and I:

though that we live to warm each other,

wait, in crumpled covers,

in theatres or in homes,

in churchyards or gardens

or the back rows of cinemas

or the cabbage scented kitchen

or the dim corners of restaurants

to know you better and to serve you well.



I give you my future.


I arch by night and always

our duty seeds

in all these honourable actions we make:

The investiture of kisses, half tipped

like shallow bowls of blood

to your supreme governance.


It is in our wine and inheritance,

this identifying wish to bend our knees.


I give you my body so to sow,             

inside imperfect furrows, England.

I give you the envy of its future daughters

and the fervour of its future sons.


I give you a dream that was a queen, and pavilions

and coloured rice, and apple crumble

and hairslides

and wonder

varnished tight onto the hull

of our figurative order.

And esteem, such as any woman can esteem another.


I give you the tiniest curled strands at the nape of my neck.

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