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to be finite is really a partial negation

Spinoza, Ethics i.8

each substance must be
               you understand
nothing but limit
                              this body
               with frosted lips
the model who gets
                              men in love
               with an image
their hearts in the dark

               stories taunt them
that’s the way it is
                              sadness jammed
               under the ribs
(but one is missing)
               swallowed with pills
each morning after

when every bedroom
                              should have two
               doors I’ll endure
your weathering stare
                              step outside
               the snow intense
as a nun at prayer
                              (words measure
               the air between
that drift this footfall)

believing I’ll make
                              you the one
               who warms the rock
that warms my body
we won’t need currents
                              to direct
               curlicue tongues
rippling together

twenty-nine light years
               your cheeks I’ll smile
my skin will crackle
                              like pond ice
               you swim across
kicking underneath
                              the breast-bone
               your arms outstretched
never connecting

23.8.1988 – 2.10.1989, Church Square, Christchurch]


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