The old man thrills to unearth dirty bits
where they’re most unexpected. Book shop displays,
pale pages splayed wanton
behind glass for all to see
those slight sweet smuts of words
that sound like what they mean –
the awe of throb; the thrust of pearly breast,
an itch to ‘b’, the hush of saucy whispers
simply nothing – not even sweet unless
she’s fifteen and fresh, her ink unsmudged.
Cookbooks are better than prose,
he finds, exposing riots of flushed cooks
and rosier fruits – tumbling cherries burst
with scarlet sap, the candied apples ooze, caramel
toffee drapes a spoon; apricots slump over-ripe
on a steamy counter in a drizzled honey bun kitchen –
salacious orgies of what ifs, could be.
A lap of untempered chocolate ganache,
gauchely dark in its shadowy bowl;
Culturing yogurt teased from tepid milk,
turned swollen and bulbous
in bellied jars like the softened shape of virgins.
After the slather of soft veiny cheese, the smack
of cocktails and the seep of fruit juice on diner’s chin,
then tussles at the table. Seduced
by sweat peas bathed in butter, with lobster tails
and a melt of cheddar spuds, the climax
a shameless tart of passion fruit and mangoes,
An errant breeze – the pages whorl meaty invitations
to eat, slurp, stroke berry nipples stemmed by fingers,
nails dirty from the dumpster.
The words keep coming. He tries too.
A breathy stain of ‘O’ on the window,
a smudge of forehead grease. The old man hitches
up the cord that holds his pants and turns away,
packing an appetite uncontained by empty pockets.