The Art of Love
The best sex is always unromantic.
When one body rolls into the other
in the middle of the night, and some sleeping
segment of anatomy wakes before
the brain, and you reach back (almost absently)
to guide it in to where the getting's good.
One of you has morning breath already,
the other has a forming fetus
digging his heels into their ribs. And both
of you are half asleep, but laughing,
laughing at the tangled sheets, the cold dark,
the acrobatics that are required
to hook a set of heels around a straining
neck. The hilarity of a skull
colliding against a padded headboard
is often underrated – as is
the baby's singular, ill-timed kick,
landing (as it does) against a thrusting
belly. The sweet, sudden climax
almost seems an afterthought. And, anyway,
you're asleep again, tangled up.
You'll wake, hours later, snarled in sheets,
legs overlapping, sperm drying everywhere,
with the light of mid-morning
pouring in through the windows and failing
to render any of this
appealing – or ideal in any way.
Bethany W Pope is an award-winning author. She has published several novels and collections of poetry. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described Bethany’s latest book as "poetry as salvation" and wrote: "This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape." She currently lives and works in China.