Jean Badenhorst

Away from you, I hold hands with the air,
your imagined, untouchable hand. Not there,
your fingers braid with mine as I walk.
Far away in my heart, you start to talk.
From
Hand, by Carol Ann Duffy

Over Miles

Over miles, this soft miasma of my cells
hurls itself towards you through the outstretched night.

Above your sleeping limbs it realigns,
regathers in my form. In darkened air
I hover, close enough to feed your breath
into the pores of my succubus’ skin. 

Here, my ghostly fingers touch your hair
Away from you, I hold hands with the air,

and over miles, above you as you sleep
I blow a feathered breath across your cheek.

With my tongue, I brush the crescent folds
of your eyelids, rich with frankincense,
and drink rosewater from the shallow well
that lies in the oasis of your throat.

I trace the lines across the sleeping palm of
your imagined, untouchable hand. Not there,

but over frozen miles, beyond dark seas
in a bright city, where you lie asleep,

there I find a small, remembered pulse
in the translucent parchment of your wrist.
There, on that pale skin I write these words
for you to read on waking, read of me.

Here, I recall your voice’s touch and feel
your fingers braid with mine as I walk.

Over miles, I float in all your tides,
a starfish in the shallows of your skin.

I am a tiny button at your wrist,
a seam inside your shirt, slightly undone.
I am the soft and sudden breath of air
above the upturned collar of your coat.

I watch your day begin, shadow your walk.
Far away in my heart, you start to talk.

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