Oliver Roberts

Rookie (June 7,1979 / South Africa)

Concealments - Poem by Oliver Roberts

I find you waiting in me
Sometimes, like hundreds of
Humid birds ready in their
Trees, caged in twilight, waiting
To be released by the sun.
I find you waiting in that first
Moment of flight, that alphabet
Of roofs breaking apart
And letting in the rain, you
Stand there holding the wind
In your arms; a questionable cloud.

Through the long days I reach
In and out of you, taking breaths
And plunging inwards again, I
Come out gasping. There, deep
Among the slow salty bells that
Mourn their sad vocation, I make out
Your colours, the shades of how
I remember you. The hair you
Untie with your nudity, your darkened
Eyebrows with their loneliness of
Deep caves, your mouth buried in snow
With only your long kisses showing, and
The beautiful plague of your high cheeks.

When I’m in the deep coat of my solitudes
I open letters from you, ones you’ve sent
To me from that light your skin gives
Off when you turn over in the morning
To face me. I read them over and over
And over, a Braille of white swans on
Black coal, stories about forests of
Fruit trees set alight in the middle of summer.
Walking inside the flames I find unexpected
Glances from you, your hidden smiles
Dripping off the branches like sleeping rain.

And then I see you again. You escape from
Me and disperse like an early autumn day,
Captured in that awe that argues off the night
Sea; hidden, vast and adamantly alone.
I receive you in fragments of broken mirror,
Ferocious reflections that pierce my eyes with
Your precocious femininity; your thighs’ serial
Strangulations and your fingers, moody and
Demanding, impossible to live with.

Hoping you will notice, I whisper over the years
That this is always as I have known you.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, July 31, 2006

Poem Edited: Friday, August 20, 2010

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