First LoveWhen I was a boy cycling home from school
on evenings in late summer when the drizzle fell,
I would stop and walk naked in an ancient wood I had to pass —
warm pools and sopping leaves beneath my feet,
scents of wet earth and early fungus on the air—
until I reached a certain tree-trunk lying on its side,
barkless and smooth as bone, luscious with dark slime.
Such excitements I had there, gripping the tree with my legs,
tight with blood, sliding slowly, my mind conjuring
the creature that dwelt within; her smiles and textures:
tangles of fine roots stinking of leaf-mould,
dark fruit heavy in the hands,
a sticky trumpet flower, its stamen a thick curl,
bright pollen crusting on my groin.
Later, my body washed in the soft rain, I dressed
and cycled furiously home to mum, for hot tea and brown eggs,
that I opened like the summer with my spoon.