You may be forgiven
for thinking that love
is a butcher's ritual: your body
starved and trembling, meat and bone,
both temple and sacrifice
for a devouring god,
a raw-eater, Bacchus with his teeth bared at your throat.
But you — the most wary of wild creatures
— you do not bare your teeth, and
you do not bite to break skin,
and you do not snap your jaws shut
like the steel trap at the heels
of the young flesh: meat
dripping with unpalatable bitterness
yet sweet enough on the tongue,
if carved thin.
You bare your throat to the stars —
back arched, spine a summit hewn of ivory
— and at daybreak you pull the knife from your gut
and leave your offering, in thirds, at my altar.
Shastra Deo (Queensland)