Nicky Beer

The Exquisite Foreplay of the Tortoise

Every movement of my body

is a genuflection to stone,

my flesh a chalice for dust,

which is itself the dry ghosts of flesh.


It is true that I have had

my dalliances with the odd

toadstool, the bulbous contours

of their weeping bride-heads,


but oh my love, consider

the rare patience of my desire,

the readiness with which my body

greets you, the anticipation


born in my clay heart

twenty-five years before

I could gaze over the horizon

of your skull, my two legs


trembling on your back

like a ship-born boy’s

on his first beach, terrified

he will drown in this strange earth. 


                                                                        for Brian





“The Exquisite Foreplay of the Tortoise” is from The Diminishing House (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2010).