Michael Vince Poems Contact

Twelve Poems of Michael Vince

photo of Michael Vince in Rome


THE CROSSES




There were some afternoons when wearing looks of warmth

she leaned over me, with a fringe grown long enough

to slant forward as her head bent, hiding her face.

My lips felt bruised and my jaws ached from kissing her.

In the gloom her dark shoulders slightly moved, and gleamed.

Beside the bed our clothes lay strewn across the floor.


That happened before the earthquake cracked our city.

The house still trembles slightly in the afternoon.

Evenings have grown cool. We drape the sheet above us

but then we shake it off. In sleep I dream I have

wrapped us both in a warming and soothing blue sheet

but it wrinkles in the dream, and cracks appear in it.


Outside on every house is a green or red cross

like a kiss put at the end of a child’s letter.

Her mouth nuzzling at my cheek, she told me stories

about her doll, and the one about her rabbit

from the years before her father died. In the dusk

the rabbit savoured the freedom of the mown lawn.


So the closeness together of a just a few days quickly

becomes a story. The green cross means I can stay

and continue my life the way it was, before

the solid earth shook itself beneath the table.

If not, I dare not venture in, for what we had

might open and widen until I fell right through.