Urinal blocks

by Kate Wise

There, that stopped you.
But it’s true.
I could near as honestly have said the tomato leaves
sweating in greenhoused sun,
gaspingly awaiting our return and a slice of air;
or the acid-prickled sweet of raspberry briar,
with its drooping, insected load.
Not cut grass. What’s unthinking idyll to you
is work to me; thunder drowning
a blackbird evening.

But not. And they were there; and we were here.
So, urinal blocks.
Did it help that the bathroom
had red carpets, faux-gold mirrors,
and a lobby with no light,
from whose possible ghost we
liked to run?
Either way, those naphthalenic acids
curling to my nostrils held me,
dared me – poke a tip;
lick those sugar-poisoned crystals –
                like home’s kiss-curled spit-quiffed bullocks
                lick the saltblocks
                rasping rough on rough
                with clover-fugged breaths –
and I can taste it now, the thrill of that scent;
carrying along the poolward corridor,
the beachball’s hollow pinging thwack
beating us down to the door.
Tell me that was not heaven.