[from Rosanna Warren's Stained Glass, Norton, 1993]
The human body is superfluous.
Rochester knew it: lurching home
from a night of swiving and sluicing,
ballocks crumpled, loins wrung out,
fingers dripping and pungent, he was consumed
by knowledge. Having caressed
the soft slippage of flesh from rib and hip,
foreknew rack, gibbet, kettle, all the precise
instruments of quest including
the final eloquent shudder; knew
pond scum to grow gooseflesh, to be
a freakishly aroused; knew Spanish moss
to dangle as lace, black mud to suck
and ooze with a confession of pleasure;
knew truth a prisoner
begging to be shucked free.
So over and over the glossy girl,
the sleek-limbed boy, must pose
while Love the scientist stutters, repeats himself,
staggers through his garbled litanies
husking pure form from the body of this death.
Stained Glass (Warren)