Clare Hornsby



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The words in your mouth

Answer me!
Said my small son’s gesture
His hands tugging on my lip

The ancient Greeks
Pulled the words out of the mouths of their lovers
With their fingertips.

But how to stop the words
Coming from your mouth?

In dreams I can put my fingers there
And touch the gap between your teeth
Know where your words are
As if I were blind.
Stereognosis.

But now
What matters
Is this.

Wait a minute
Stay there
Don’t speak
Or move.

And my hand can rest on your cheek
Like a cool cloth
And your warm head
Just where it is, for that instant
In the hollow of my neck.