Rachael Boast was born in 1975. Sidereal (Picador 2011) was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize. She is editor of The Echoing Gallery: Bristol Poets and Art in the City (Redcliffe Press). Pilgrim’s Flower (Picador 2013) was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize. A third collection, Void Studies, is due in November 2016. She lives in Bristol.
As you trace my reclining figure
and the blades of my shoulders rise
and you use the sight of your hands
to find out what shape I’ll take
closing your eyes and urging me
not to move so you might
lose yourself enough to turn me
into something unbearably real
the curve of your falling hair
abstracts me from my outline
and from the constraints of form
as new images flourish from the body
new forms of love pleasing itself
in rooms that won’t keep still.
So: you would like to be the swallow
that comes to my window, watching me
talking around the edge of what I mean.
That would explain why you keep glancing
to your left, why the hair on your arms is alert
to the shape on the other side of the glass.
The bird, of course, is your soul.
Why else come back to sit between
these two lamps, looking at my hands
which are busy conducting songs
from the limitations of speech
having crossed the abyss honourably?
It is better not to interrupt the Muse;
it seems she wanted me to love you.