The Lexicographer’s Lament for the Letter L
or L’espirit de l’escalier…                                                                                 —Mark A. Murphy

                       “So L is for lavender and not, quite obviously, for love,
                       nor lust, which can be less than limitless.”


Creatures, libidinous as we are, longing
for physical union,
impatient, itching the leg, the inside of the leg,
the thigh to learn and re-learn

the locked troubles we left behind
a century or so ago. Long and longer again
we look up at the stars
to banish shared exile of place.

Languorous now, dream-like, the images of Louise,
Lauren and Lolita,
long lost, long cast out
before the last unfriendly come back.


Accordingly, Lori tends her lobelia, all the colours
of sky, cooks her French soups
and fish dishes, her Moroccan tagines, all the flavours
of land and sea, lamb, goat, sea-bass, skate,

undeterred by loss, with all the smiles
of the Mediterranean and Africa on her lips,
her language leisurely, fluid,
and pure like her thighs

always eager beneath salt and sea-water,
her labial secrets
swimming far from shore,
far from the past’s listless labyrinth.


So sorry, all that’s left of the bearded man
are laments, (some words
he wished
he’d uttered a lifetime ago)

but liminal pleasures are refused him,
or rather he snubs them
holding literally, laconically to the letter L,
he gathers the lavender

laboriously to himself, lashes it in little bundles,
lauding it one time to laughter,
the next to light,
liking it one time to sex, the next to inkwells and death.

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Mark A. Murphy’s first full length collection, Night-watch Man & Muse was published in November 2013 from Salmon Poetry (Eire).

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2016