Author: Anna Russell /

I've always loved the word ravaged. 

Aged rage. 

Rava... va... va...

and then the g. The soft g
that forces the tongue upwards and back, 
adds, with dictive irony, the harshness required
to lurch down the gutter to d. 

The stink of love entices, like the god
people have feigned forgetfulness over, 
but still offer mind-nudges of consideration to
in their private moments; who rises
with the fury of the shunned 
into nights stained with cheap
Merlot and hindsight. 

His smell still loiters in my hair. 
His CD collection still invades mine, 
little square warriors whose battle cries
will stay boxed. 
His idioms still slap my tongue
and bounce uninvited from the roof of my mouth. 

There should be a plural form of his. 

The love-dance shrieks its siren-call
and I am beckoned, puppet-like. 
(I have given the male siren his own, 
secret name). 
The time signature is an irregular heartbeat. 
I am giddy. Drunk. I stumble. 

But I will not stop dancing. 

I've always loved the word ravaged.