Your starling head,
proud crest shed some time ago,
above the same white shirt pulled
over a banished Adam’s torso pounced
by Masaccio — shoulders sloping
to a schoolboy tuck,
black shoes scuffed.
I think how your waistline
must have fleshed out — the curved
armchair dip above the hips
with the requisite love handles,
yet still the sly whiff of cedarwood
and your name must be Paul.
You are a ghost that stalks
the tumbling grey stone hills of Assisi.
Your name escapes me — Lorenzo?
A young waiter still sweaty from your shift
at a rustic pizzeria,
wide-eyed, gangly, famished — and we
toured the damp castle walls,
while I endured the sticky pearls of your
snail kisses. No doubt you are the father
of grown-ups now, while I — oh,
You had a by-line in the paper and also
sported a beard for a while — but soon
shaved it off after you met me,
and I liked you because you made me laugh
in those fusty old vaults where renown
and grace had been leeched away.
We’ve lost touch now — but I’ll always
recall those drinks before the lunch
on the day of the races,
when you flipped a new pound coin
down the dip of my tapered white blouse
with cap sleeves —
and I was too naive to realise
you were flirting,
and that I was drifting into deep waters
while you just paddled. Yet when I came across
your fiancee’s love-knot hairband
cradled upon the bedside table,
I soon waded back to shore, thighs stinging.