One night I shall despise him but this night
he is the great white tame hawk
perched beating at my teeth.

He is the scimitar I carry trembling
down the cliff of my sleep.

One day I shall be ashamed.
I shall speak.


Rachel McAlpine

(Title is same as the title of a short story by Katherine Mansfield that inspired this poem.)



I love you nervously.
The neighbours know.

Are we manageable?
Can you say that word?
Are we even valid?

I love you mostly with
a careful paranoia and
at times a kind of folly.

There are laws, you know.
I think we ought to whisper.
You have overstayed.
You are one too many.


Rachel McAlpine