I cup her face in my hands
And what have I got?
The skin at her eyes is scrunched
And side-teeth show through red lipped kinks
She’s looking at me
And her eyes are happy to be by my fingers,
But where have these hands been?
Towelling doglegs, ripping caps from pens
And scraping away paint from tough bristled brushes;
They’ve even broken things.
I squash her cheeks with my hands;
My strong hard, thick and hard
Fingers like bolts strapped against wire,
The sun in Manchester has lifted my spirits
And my hands are warm, hard and dry.
‘You’re supple and soft – with these creams on your skin,’
The smile on her eyes falls and those irises sharpen
Her pupils, a set of two sharp pin-blacks
Watch me now, hunting
I lick her cheek and taste ground powders, old soap,
Those light, bitter chemicals.
The explanation, she assures me, is to do with the sun
‘If it rains so much here, I need cream –
I wear the cream like you wear a mac.’
The weather changes endlessly and it always rubs her skin.
I hold her face in my hands,
These hands have broken things