Undressing the cold body
you lie down at dusk, blue shine

on the windows and the sun
husked for winter night. Tight-lipped

and longing to embody sleep,
to devour the white lion

sleep, you watch the room slowly
steep itself in shadows, steep

itself in the wine-flushed darkness
of another night. Silently

you confront the blue-rimmed edge
of outer dark, those crossroads

where we meet the dead, knowing
their first street calls will rise

and nuzzle against your chest
like tiny inexorable animals

or the blunt edge of a knife
about to descend. And all night

you’re left sitting at a desk
frightened, thinking of the skull

under the smooth skin, how we
return to our lives as animals

engulfed in soft fog, exposed
to the wind against our fur

and denied warmth, denied rest,
denied earth’s sleep and granite.