*WARNING: this poem may contain some content that is unsuitable for younger readers*
There’s the feel of feathers on skin,
the blunt beak on human lips.
It’s a forbidden love, a transgression,
a merging of species.
Her thigh thrusts skyward, his arched wing
echoes her calf curving downward.
A state of abandon, artfully composed:
her headdress stays secure.
And there’s the voyeuristic painter
and I, the eyes behind the eyes.
A rape or a seduction?
The darker feathers a lecherous hand?
What if the hand that held the brush
were Artemisia’s, not Michelangelo’s?
Could I let myself enjoy the pale pink nipple
touching the swan’s downy neck?
Or the woman’s bent fingers
caressing her own creamy flesh?
The only way that day will call on me
is if the night will promise to refrain.
I cannot choose. I love both equally.
When these two meet they greet
with reddened cheeks, for shame.
Whereas, for me, the sweetest bliss
is kindled with each parting kiss.
I have been telling babies their manuscripts
will often be turned down without the first line being read
and it’s hard, watching the babies comprehend this,
but it’s good for them in the long term.
I’ve not said anything yet to the babies
about what happens when relationships end, but I will. I’ll say
it’s like when an actor chooses to use their character’s accent
even when they’re not on set. You know it’s them, deep down,
but at the same time they’re not really in the room with you.
I’ll say there will be days when you’re so sad
You won’t even sob. It’s just numb.
The babies always understand this straight away.
I’ve already explained to them
their favourite TV characters don’t actually exist
it’s just grown-ups in costumes
who are already thinking about their next project.