Love in winter

She came to me in the early morning
following a night shift at the bank
tired and strangely wound up
from counting money
from reading The Faerie Queene
she came with the night air in her fur collar
and the cold mist of the city and the East River
on her cheeks and hands
look how cold my hands are
she said, touching my face
under her coat, she was warm as though from a fire
I took from her hair a silver comb inlaid with red jasper
and, imperiously, she shook out her hair
“If you ask me,” she said
“I think Spenser is out of control”
she talked of night-time rivalries in the bank
a Civil War was being waged in the Loan Department
she spoke of Edmund Spenser
and the Irish background to his epic poem
it isn’t his technique that bothers me, she said
he just didn’t know when to stop
I took off her clothes quietly and with great skill
(the sound of a buckle or clasp
could break the spell)
as she thrilled to my touch
and continued to talk
now slowly, now in a whisper
of sub-prime loans—
how ravenously she loved
how purposefully, knowing this to be the cure
her opponents vanquished in the pitch of excitement
bank officers, credit applicants, Spenserian stanzas,
professors of English literature
dispatched to Oblivion
from my Bower of Bliss
where I drank in her sighs
and her cries I caught in a silver net

Stuart Dodds

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