You let love in
like a stray cat outta the rain.
Its paws are dirty /
Its tail waves like a new idea /
It's too small to make the doorframe shake
and too big to fit through the keyhole.
You let it in,
smiling & wary & a little bit scared.
you're twelve again,
hanging up the phone when Suzie's dad
stone blossoming in your throat
when Jamila says "I'm not your type"
when what she really means
is that you're not hers
or twenty four
under the stone gates of Chinatown
Adelina with her thighs that smile at the moon,
with her headdress of sorrow
or twenty eight
when everything falls to pieces
and you become
the howl of a dog in a padded cell.
And you're so full of want and ache,
staring into love's leonine eyes,
you realise that maybe it isn't a cat at all -
it could be a killer whale dressed as one.
Or a rabbit.
you undress and dismantle your limbs
one by one
arm, leg and wing
and place them in a pile
on the tiles.
picks them up in its teeth,
walks to the door,
looks left and right
You cry for months
until one day
you feel whole once more,
sitting at the window
embroidering stars on the udder of dusk
while your flatmate boils the kettle
would scrape again at your door.