(after Shakespeare)


She follows me up

to the eighth floor of the library

where eerie dust,


shushed by a coy

draught, stirs

amongst the shelves.


We snake in and out 

of the aisles, looking for a corner 

or a space as dark


as a room in bedlam for us

to become the rude myth 

of our birthright. 


But with no Venus glove

for entering the nest 

of the phoenix


we’re both fair game.

And the idea of it, of flesh, 

almost becomes an impediment: 


the spiced rivers of her hair 

in our lips as we kiss;

the knuckles of her spine


like the rivets in her dress —

obstructions, abstractions, words

in the way — that is 


until our burning will touches

the metallic shelves

like lava meeting glacier, 


bumping the goose 

in both of us

and steaming up the windows


that turn a blinkered eye 

to the odds of being caught



“Put some more English on it,”

she whispers, with

my finger on her forepart.


And unbridled, I risk the faux 

pun: “Are you a woman 

given to lie...?”


But that’s not

how she does it now, alive

in the dusky back 


passages of the library,

where the dimmed fluoro 

and deep shadow 


bisect our civil demeanours,

where we succumb at last

to our lower halves,


making love like centaurs,

a discreet but riveting



to a hushed and studied audience 

of thousands laid 

before us in many positions


though mainly standing up

and jacketless, front 

to back.


Library Animals