How long before we die?

For Tom.


How long before we die?


These days,

I have a head full of butterflies.


Your presence makes me as excited as I would be

watching a rainbow coloured snake shed its skin,

or an infant swan swim.


I know my attitude could be considered almost festive,

I should be sporting antlers, but I can’t help it,

you make me so fucking passionate.


I’m sorry you end up with lipstick all over your face.

These feelings ought to be mopped up off the floor.

These feelings, as sweet as roses smell

when they’re left in a plastic box on a hot window sill.


When you leave, I am drenched with ache,

as though by a rainstorm everyone else had been expecting,

except me.


When I’m trying to relax, sprawled on the sofa,

I feel sad, sombre, like a ghost.

When I need to concentrate, when I’m plucking my eyebrows

or at a job interview I’m thinking of you.

The only one on the street, sucking stars from the sky,

showing me them on your tongue.


I want to climb mountains with you, collect stones from beaches,

walk across snow covered tundra,

spend four days in a tent in a wood near a moor,

where we can smell heather and watch bracken curl as it grows.


I want to install all of this in my life,

not claim that I know how to make it all work,

but promise I’ll make it special and worth the while.