Red earth and yellow sun and
blood pouring out my mouth.

Crisp oceans and pale eyes and
a calligraphed smile on your lips.

There was poison in your bones even then
wiring fraying inside the honeycomb labyrinth,
a minotaur stalking your blueing arteries.

I don’t know why they call a gulf yawning.
It isn’t sleepy but endlessly awake.

A cavernous emptiness. The edges
forever eating away at

the desert made of parchment dust
the colour that ink burns.

Bloodied eagle wings on my back which
I carved myself with a promethean knife,

the spaces between the broken-apart ribs almost wider
than twelve hours

A broad red land and sweeping plains,
I joke with a smile like the father of Icarus had
when his son shattered into Aegean glass

which is to say no smile
and a poor Olympian joke

to live in a hostile country with ill-tempered Sol
and yet it was your own poison meat
the cyanide of your own marrow writing bad metaphors
right into your brain.

Everyone says you were beautiful
your husband
his daughter
our friends

& my girlfriend, holding my fingers
her girlfriend, grasping my palm

and you were. Ghost-thin
and empty as light,
shorn.

You died in pain.

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B. Clifford

B. Clifford has a degree in medieval studies from an Antipodean university. When not working on a masters in archival studies, he tries to spend his time translating prose and poetry in a handful of dead languages. This is his first publication.