The Cartographer’s Morning-After Shirt


Early, before you rise, I slip away
and in the pearly morning
hold this show-through up against the light,

blunder through latitudes
of meadows and upland farms,
pleated railways that  fan out
to cities, aerial mosaic of darts and notches
end-on-end:  I scent espresso, coinage
and tarmac until tears sting,

stumble where the grain line swoops
to hummock of each breast
and its neat trig summit,
trace meander of buttons and sewn lips,
parted, that ache for their kiss:

dream longitudes of greens, golds,
loose and limber, the almost indivisible waves
that lift and fall,
huge wheatfield
tensile in a summer breeze –

here somewhere, hiding,
you have erased the scale
and I may never get home.

How little we are,
seen from the air.

If I could meet you here
where everything is possible

I put you to my face
your sun-warmed yesterday smell.


Pippa Little