By the age of three I realised
I was no longer alone
It took a dry page
A painted Angel
A star that just as suddenly appeared
Within the frame
Of my attic window
And I knew
I felt you leap
And having leapt
You would never be still


I knew she came
Surrounded by the mystic dust
That remained long after
She was gone
Imprinted in the shakes
And joins of the floorboards
No mystery in its grey darkness
Gathered silently there
For how could it shine when
She was gone


You were quiet then
Although I never heard you speak
I knew you were in the darkness
A simple finger in my ear and I
Could hear every single indrawn breath
Your throat billowing
As if it were my own
And then we were two
You and I
Joined at the Wish


At six you woke me
Reminded me that I had forgotten
This evanescent part of me
Waiting for change
Poling my quiet waters
Allowing my life
With a vision of cinnamon
A broad brush of hazel
In her eyes
And how we leapt


I calculated the volume of
Her freckles
Dinnertime-multiplied by six
Divided again by the sum of
The delicate bridge of her nose
And the answer was two
You and I
For I could never love her
The way you did
And so I watched from the wings
As you attempted to fly
But never could
Because all you possessed
Was me


At thirteen her hair was copper,
burnished by youth
And it seemed that it had always been
At three
At six
A common thread that
Stitched us together
And you swam
Oh, how you swam
In my days and nights
Of holding our heads above water
So I could breathe
And so that I could
Remind you
That you were not alone


And then she leapt
And we found
That we could not follow
Joined at the wish
We were too heavy to leap
And so we swam
And found her again
And again
Each time one leap behind
Until we lost sight
Of what we were pursuing
And had to be reminded
That we two were one
By design

At seventeen I held you
Squirming in my grasp
But safe
While others whirled about us
And ourselves
Still unsure
Somewhere still thirteen
And tired
And this time, pragmatic
Less fluid
We calculated until she
Failed to arrive
And I had to let you go
And you decided to stay
To remind me
That I am not alone


And in that togetherness
You fell silent
My head alone
Lost without the impetus
To leap
Without the mechanism
Of sudden propulsion
Swam circles lazily
That I
No, we,
Had ever leapt
Until a finger
Placed loosely against my ear
Reminded me
Of where the wish lived


And then I woke you
Asked if you could still
And you replied
As if dragged from a dreamless
Slumber of years
Thickly coated with brown dust
Filling the shakes and joins
Of our life so no star
Could pry
Or loosen
Or intrude
Into the wall
That we had built


And your breath quickened
And you remembered hair
Of sheen
And eyes of hazel
And we saw these things again
And I felt you leap
And then you took my hand
And we soared
Above the intervening years
And the dust of mistakes
And fear
And the star came out
Pale against a late mid day
And we saw it


And I placed a finger
Against each ear
To shut out the world
To quell my head
To remove the pain of having leapt
Never knowing
Nor, it seems, caring
where we might land
Exhilarated by flight
Wingless, parabolic
Falling like the stone
We had carried for an age
But for that moment aloft
We have given everything


I spend many days
Without you
For you are no longer mine
I am simply a cavity
In which you reside
A warmth of backwater
Keeping you supple
And fluid
Where cautious fingers remind me
That once
We were


And I have learned to love you
As you love another
And I smile
From the half-leap
Where I fall
In perpetuity
Like the star
We allowed in
That shook the dust
And the fear
That rattled the boards and the bars
We had built around us
And I see your reflection in the
Copper sheen
And the hazel
And taste the cinnamon
And the youth
And cry for the intervention
Of time


And from
The depth of the wish
I know
That when the moment
At the knell
At the cessation
Where fingers
However carefully placed
However many hearts shall listen
Shall never again
Hear your drawn breath
We shall speak
And for one final
Parabolic time
Uncertain of our footfall
We shall leap again

Bill Allerton