Intimations of Age (1970)
October 1, 2013
Their older sisters bolted from my timid torch on legs as lithe; and now these fawns, these flowers in my dream- pasture of lust, glowing more fiercely as my sun declines, they nestle close without fear, their brittle fingers liberated on my distanced flesh, and call me Uncle. And the sisters, el dorado’s dancehall nymphs ten years ago, now heave into the station of the mind trailing children and talking quite openly of intra-uterine devices. (The days are fingers, turning me to their own blank eyes. My tongue exaggerates the memory, and then the stone’s sound shakes the well.) And at the barricades the Afro- printed rebels, discovering by rote (a quickening treason of self-knowledge) 300 years of misplaced blackness, vicariously warm against each other in their chain- gang chants of Africa and anarchy; while I retreat to verandahs and rum, and turn to other roots, which grow like morning details to myopic urgency: a father, never close, now slipping through the gaps of silence into testiness and recollection, as I assume his role and watch my son’s fierce love batten on my terror of the road that darkens into dream; a mother-in-law, warming herself at the flame of my last gift to her, whose twelvemonth legs amaze themselves with puppet steps. Like a chrysalis despairing of the light I turn again, to find my woman naked between dresses, belly breasts and limbs two harvests old, pouting at the mirror’s indifference. My cosmos pivots on the fulcrum of her deeply furrowed groin. Oyster- tight, her gum-chewed nipple is the only granule in this swelling darkness.