In Measures

He sleeps in the hammock
of a silken, silver scar
that curls around my arm like a chain;
a creature comfort, a ghostly appendage,
finer than a spider's web and visible only to me.
This is where he lives.
Where snow half-falls in unreachable diamonds,
becoming hardened rain that wants to wound.
Where the sun shines in segments
like the moon, indecisive, shy,
a cold crescent against the darkness
until dawn sinks its glow like a ship.

Love only blossoms here
not in years or in whole lives,
but in fragmented minutes and days,
in the most subtle of changing ways,
its rose-tinted glass never quite full.
Summer only sings the first stanza
of its sonnet before winter sucks the breath
from the air; the tune carries only a part of its melody,
chords glitching like it doesn't care.

His laughs are little whispers,
quiet as the flush of an eyelash
against delicate skin, secret
as a night-time tear, a hollow chime
that only I can hear; this is how he adores me.
Sullen, silent and in temperamental measure,
a loving, hostile temper.
I keep him like tattoos behind the skin,
beneath my nails, hold him stiff in places
where only he can wander in.

He is the smallest of pleasures,
an inkblot, a chip of Fool's gold,
a flake of snow fluttering against the cold,
and this is how he needs me;
the soft, pliable comfort of my earthly flesh,
the constant tease of my broken promises.

I keep him alive and in love just enough
to keep him willing, from season to season,
by degrees, in measures.

Shaunna Harper's picture

Shaunna Harper lives and works in the UK, and is an avid writer of both prose and poetry. She has had poetry, short stories and a novel, Homelands, published.

Last updated August 18, 2014