At last, you said, arrival.
The place was gaunt, no trivial
adornments, superfluous curlicues
distracting us from country views,
the long sweep of distant hill,
the air steeped in summer, still
as silence. We unpacked cases pleasantly
weighted with those presently
thrown on things
we'd brought to spoil us, panderings
to seal this as summer.
We were strangers here, newcomers
entering their escape
from lives of previous shape-
lessness. You brushed your hair out,
swinging the mane of it about
in a new found act of careless
satisfaction, as if you could bear less
the tight knot of work than this
first step to summer bliss.
The bleached, whitewashed walls,
the static-like, grating calls
cicadas made, the olives
sweet-sour smell like polish,
light, luminous and bare
as a white sheet, the air
a perfume of dust and roses.
It was like a place that half supposes
itself loved, half loathed, for all it is;
free, ascetic, full of lethargies.
I knew then we'd never leave
and I continued to believe
us there, even when back
in the cold city suffering lack
of light, astringency, darkness
scouring us out, remarkless
for whole evenings, as in our eyes
that gaunt place deposited it's lies,
it's blandishments, the ticking hope
of what is warm, an air you envelop,
savour, taunting us to submit.
The illusory, haunting, shape of it.