Alyson Dayus is a queer feminist poet and an academic in the sociology
of education. Previously she was a dancer, but gave up after suffering
headaches because her bun was too tight.

April, 1952-2005

Spring taps her on the shoulder, inches
into her bedroom through a chink
in the curtain. She pulls the heavy fabric

back to reveal a bright meadow, blooms
of laundry draped over armchairs, strands
of carpet in amongst the grass.

As of this morning, she will refuse turnip
and Winter squash: the outgoing season can
take their resistant, woody flesh. She will grab

the garden's first tomato, still green but with
a scarlet flush; firm skin defends its tender
centre, like the girl who once gazed

back at her from a dim 50s mirror.
Gorgeous in her not-quite-woman-ness,
all awkward long legs and audacious red lips.

Today, she is tired and shortened, but will
walk greening paths, watch Dads snap
Sunday photographs and stoop to tie

their eager youngsters' laces. They wave
at imagined acquaintances on intercity
trains. She will wave back as she trudges past,

look beyond outstretched grimy fingers
to the distant rocky coastline, strain to see
their future in shifting waters.

A bit of crumpet

I am lightly browned,
freshly buttered,
and full of tiny holes.

See my skin glisten,
feel it give under your
incisors, fix a driblet
with your tongue, serve
me up at the supper club.

Brighton Beach

She wakes up, blinks
the make-up
out of her eyes, listens
to him snoring, wonders
how love got so boring.

She loves him like the beach,
their summer retreat,
sand that from far away
glistens, waves
that speak but don't listen.

The act of offering

Between crisp cotton sheets
I lie without a stitch,
peeled like a willow-switch
or a chestnut beneath its prickly skin,
fearful of my frankness;
so be cautious
as your hand meets
the cloth.

Be cautious, but bend
me like a willow-switch;
I will stay at that pitch, refuse
to snap back. Without
a stitch, I will shiver
at the lack of a sheet;
let your body be my blanket,
as your hands meet
my skin.

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