Naming

Once you were nameless –
a breeze spinning the sycamore seeds
shimmying, while below
your father carved in rough bark,
sun rouging the back of his neck,
his teeth squeezing a stalk of rye,
winking at a girl, one long summer
when you were just the skittle
of sea on shingle
trickling between her bare toes.
Stretched and languid,
she chanced on a pebble,
smoothed with a hole
through which she peered and framed a future…
You were salt zest on her shoulders.

Syllables –
I summon them between my lips,
exhale vowels
and with tongue and teeth and soft palate
create the consonants –
repeat them roundly,
till your mouth obscures them
and the heat of your belly
melds with mine.

© Caroline Fox Betts 2010

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