Howard Firkin
for Ales and Gabrielle
Ulysses dogs us down the night soil lane,
      through paling forests, splintering with pique,
      his collar sounds like bellbirds near a creek
that sounds like water running down a drain.
            We thought we knew where this was going to end:
a plan we had the foresight to forget.
      She stops to feel the bluestone. "Smooth," she says,
      a purring question mark between her legs,
"as mountain river stones," her fingers wet,
            her body curling like a river bend.

We’re not romantic. We know where we are.
      We don’t say things we haven’t said before.
The sound of breakers is a passing car.
      We know this is a footpath, no foreshore.