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The Compass

Stephen Morrissey

From The Compass, Empyreal Press, Montreal, 1993:

On the four corners of the bed
the body becomes a compass
describing the direction
of passion. Months of desire
arrive at this destination,
rocking on a single almost silent
wave we are sheltered
by darkness. The body
is a compass needle;
you turned me from east to west
awoke a sleeping giant that moves
between your mouth and breasts and legs;
the room illuminated by static electricity
thrown off by our bodies.
How many decades did I sleep
waiting only for you; I lust after you
in all the directions of space.
Meeting at the airport
your foot touching my leg
beneath the restaurant table,
we secretly entered an empty banquet
hall where the caterers chattered and
poured drinks behind a wall partition
then quickly leaving
we found a deserted hallway
of open office doors
where we embraced.
All the others in my life
fell away, I was ready
to abandon my old life for you,
for the touch of your hand
and mouth, the apple red and delicious
cut in half that I eat.
Tied to the four corners of love
as to a bed which becomes a compass,
I find you on your stomach,
on your back, in the morning
lying pressed against me.
It is not possible to return
to sleep now, it is not possible
to forsake your touch and love,
black lace, fingers, wetness,
your mouth, words. The compass
needle turns finding north switched
to east and west to south, night
becomes morning; nothing remains
as it was. You pointed my life
in a new direction, towards a corner
of the world only dreamt of before.
Outside the sun is red
descending behind a row of trees,
shadows fade into the other
unexplored regions of night.

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