Just as – shifting the Double-Gauss a notch – the clarity attained is not
what appears, but how what appears does,
so l’étranger is not this man in the window just off the Euston Road,
but rather a shifting in this me that is.
And, what held for Louis holds true for me. In my teens, you were
‘foreign names over winking doors’;
marred, perhaps, but only by the Thames’ mean gust, slate-stolid réveil,
that bite I came to need.
Still, it’s been years since I came to you, a little less since you began
to nibble, then gnaw, then masticate.
I don’t know if I got out or was spat. But, somehow, I’m back: transient,
for now, a fleeting whiff,
amuse-gueule, faint stirring of your parotid. Soon, I promise to be
here – at your leisure, to lick and lap –
your spittle shiver now blain, now numb dread.