HE SHAVES OFF HIS BEARD AFTER 20 YEARS

When he shaved off his beard

and his face hatched,


she was shy, shrank

in its glare like a fledgling,


peeped out on its newness,

creeping in to watch him sleep


in the chair, brazen,

sunrising from cushions.


And speaking of mornings,

she listened hard


for the sud, scrape, slosh,

of sleek drips unhindered,


glistening their proof

on pink porcelain,


stroked his smoothness,

first with one finger,


shocked by its tight tip’s trail,

later with five of them,


sliding like skaters unrinked.

Love, she thought,


as they lay, that first time,

lights blazing,


and he turned to her,

bedclothes pushed down,


his face wide open.

From The Sky, Head On (Shoestring Press, 2009)

© Cathy Grindrod