EVENING MOVES OF A WOMAN AT 50

So the moon knocked on her window
knocked until she awoke, swimming in silver
and ghosts, while the bamboo outside
whispered the stories of the night.

Downstairs, she drank a glass of water.
The moonlight flooded the sun room,
pouring over the kitchen sink, fragrant
with its news of the green world.

Then among the shadows she found herself,
    found herself alive again
among the silvered leaves and six white flowers:
the six white flowers of the night-bloomer, larger than
dinner plates or a human skull, cactus-petalled,
streaming with fragrance, drowsy recollections, desire.
    And she travelled to Egypt.
    And she travelled to the Orient.
Frankincense. Myrrh. Sandalwood. Roses. Camphor.
The enormous scent flowed over her; she was
drinking it, washing the folds of her naked body
written on by the luck of the years, elegantly stained
with work and children and flooding memory.

When she slipped back under the sheet beside him
she reached out, resting her hand on his flank;
then stroked the same thigh she had stroked for decades,
her own skin glowing, perfumed, freshly washed.


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