A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2006, vol 2 no 2

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Arthur Durkee

ancient eyes

His eyes black with shadows in the late afternoon amber light. His arms rounded and firm, perfect collarbones. His breath the scent of loam just after a summer rain shower. Musk of his sweat as he strips off his shirt and wipes his chest with it. He never looks at you till it's too late, and, then his gaze locks on yours with an audible click. Caught, an insect in hardening resin, your heart skips a beat, thuds, kicks in your breast. Just the hint of a smile breaks through his angelic indifference. Caravaggio knew this curly-haired, dark angel. He's even in the paintings no one has seen.

sultry look, a kiss,
move together skin to skin—
water through a reed

You knew, the first time he came up the stairs to your narrow, sun-warmed flat, that you would one day love him. The perfect curves of his thighs, the translucent shirt he wore, the web of muscle across his back and hips. His lips barely parted, as he silently panted from the heat and the climb. He stayed to listen to records on the scratchy phonograph, smiling without speaking, then grinned for the first time as he left. You knew he would be back. He'd find some excuse to visit, some reason to knock. His ancient eyes, as he looks at you from under his brow, calmly waiting.

fading autumn sun
casts shadows on your body—
how soon we grow old