The shortest day of the year has come
and gone. It is lighter from here
but colder, still. The woman writes for six months
about the man before he touches her neck
where the hair is soft and
like the young girl's, tempted away
from the fairground, her hair so
blonde and thin and lit by the flash
(-ing lightning, the night stormy)
of the camera, her skin bare her mouth gagged her
arms bound and an audio tape recording.
I've lost track of how long it has been since.
Your charcoal hands touch mine and flinch
now. But I will do as you ask. First, you must ask.
First, pour yourself a drink and tell me
what you like most and do not be scared when
I become it.
The woman meets the man at work.
She cuts her hair and wears lipstick
careful and red. The change comes slow,
then speeding. She finds the girl
to help bury in the moor. The woman discovers
not love but something close. I find
your hiddens: the girls glossy and small.
For two weeks, only oranges. My hands
smell like a grove. My ribcage becomes a toppled
branch. Ask for blood and I will give you blood,
the woman said to the man.
I said to you.
People say the woman was polite and
still, always, an animal waiting to dart.
How tiny, those hands shaking as she touches the
girl's cheek. As she passes her to the man.
As she hits record. When the cassette runs out,
the girl's still screaming.
It is silent now. Snow falls slow and you are gone
and I apologize, I was never as dedicated as she.