Breakfast with Romilda
And this, he thinks, is the start
The softness of seeing her begin
comes in staccato sensations:
the carelessness of her
pyjamas; the double-check
to see the kettle
clicking off from on;
the untimed egg
being softly boiled;
the indelicate clunk
of a mug almost missing its mat.
She loosens through these daily sensations,
until a turn to the bin with a teabag
balanced in the nadir of a spoon
is a flamenco glide dispelling
the overt stillness of the morning.
How she turns his attentions.
She is a tutor, practising her agility
to teach him the fluidity of dance ––
he is still, until he removes
his own egg from his own pan,
blots it carefully, places it carefully
in its waiting cup,
a counterbalance to her lack of grace,
to her egg grasped gingerly
between two scalded fingers
with its crown teaspoon-sloughed off
and yolk drooling on the side of its plate.
There must always be this balance.
His touch would be the loudness to her quiet.
But it is only now, always now,
that her quiet seems to strike
and roll thickly through him,
as she turns on the radio in passing,
turns on the distance
like an afterthought.
Still, he will take gladly the closeness
that comes as she spoons the yolk
of the corn-fed egg
and he spoons the yolk
of the corn-fed egg
and shares her let-out light,
a slow light only seen
by being broken,
a slow light to be consumed.
of everything he is the theme
As I watch, he makes the keys speak with this unruffled dexterity,
pressing notes into ciphers of sound which instruct the fabric of the air
to form mountains I have never seen. Each black-keyed note
is the darkness of firs below the snow line; each white note
is stillness wrought. I don’t understand, but know
that their coldness is not a touch, but a dialogue spoken in climbs;
that each ascension is a cold so fierce it burns, a cold so fierce it tips
to heat as I tell myself I see, with clarity, how each cadence starts to fall.
Arm brooks no argument gathers me
to the chest breath jagging a stylus skipping vinyl
grooves caging scores into strings caught by a bow strike
a sound expelled from the rib-lunge taken
for permission which can’t be
bitten back as one hand fixates
on my hip guided as a tonearm the other
presses silence to my mouth we meet
in the jinx
of the long play quiet
your body between me
and the door
I’ve been compliant
but never quite
so much of either both
at once before
She sets the mugs of tea on the kitchen worktop, both stirred
and one brewing in its own pool of milk, and says it’s misty
outside, and yes, you check then agree, it’s misty outside.
From a different spoon she dumps sugar into both mugs, the
spoon clinking on the side.
Control is easier now you know that both wrists fit in one
hand’s grip and you’re both so good at being domestic you
can split the morning duties of tea and toast.
And perhaps there was a moment when you were provoked
into taking instead of asking but asking itself becomes
implicit after a certain point of permission is passed, and
you’re certain that point was passed.
Between two fingers, she plucks out a teabag and sucks in
breath as the heat starts to catch on her skin.
You would like to find your own newness.
To dive in a confluence of rivers and wait for that instant of
solitude or solidarity to hit in the water’s cold.
To steep your hands in ash and bathe in floodlit dark until
you are returned to that balance you tried to hold before,
you could try to hold before.
You watch steam rise.
Balance might not be enough. You have this stillness now
and still you see the urgency that surfaced between looks;
how guilelessly you were both drawn into your