They are soft leather, but don’t quite fit. Remember? The tips of my toes touch the ground as I walk. Where were we going? Coffee and bread, something warm and sweet, a rising cry. The drifting signatures of unseen lives. I trail my hand along rose-coloured bricks. Our footsteps echo and I look back. Your eyes are bluer here. We move through pale amber, resinous and slowing; this street is endless, we are fixed here already.
You gather my hair, slowly, and slowly wind it over and around your hand and lift it up, slowly, above the nape of my neck so I am cooled; the day is hotter now. A cyclist weaves a silent semi-circle, a tyre brushing the kerb; it is we who should have moved, but in that moment we were sculpted there.
We turn and retrace our steps, upward-sloping, and on the stiff white sheets the bag of oranges spilling open. You returned with them before I was up; the day stretches back and back. This room with its pale walls and long linen-covered bolster and crumbling stone balcony where later we stand, leaning out into the day, segmenting oranges, one after the other, the juice sweet as sugar and the tips of my toes black with the dust of Venice.
Don’t stun the afternoon.
You tipped me up like a pitcher and poured me into you. All your blood ran through mine. So that’s how I know.
Don’t say I’m not part of you. Don’t say you’re not part of me.
It’s done now.