ode to oud

by Annabelle Fuller

sliced like a pear.
            pips pop between the strings and frets
                          and slide like incensed sand into my hair.

stone-walled and mortar-bared,
            black, dusty, spare, breeze-borne,
                         like a rhythm running through a shadow, then ensnared.

mouth closed, the breaths of agar trees
              remember the strip of bark and splay of leaf,
                           motions tressed and burdened like a frozen frieze.

dark freckled knuckles winking under silk –
               spice-scented, deluged, warm-wind-draped –
                            lie hollow, like coconuts shorn of flesh and milk.

if I touched its warble I’d feel musk,
              taste something coloured like sultana skin
                             and hear the breaking bawl of burnished husks.

it’s gargling a throat of hot perfume.
              spat at my helix, its dripping clothes my earlobes,
                            wandering wild, like a wave of wine in a sober room.