Metho Drinker by Judith Wright

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Under the death of winter’s leaves he lies
who cried to Nothing and the terrible night
to be his home and bread. ‘O take from me
the weight and waterfall ceaseless Time
that batters down my weakness; the knives of light
whose thrust I cannot turn; the cruelty
of human eyes that dare not touch nor pity.’
Under the worn leaves of the winter city
safe in the house of Nothing now he lies.

His white and burning girl, his woman of fire,
creeps to his heart and sets a candle there
to melt away the flesh that hides from bone,
to eat the nerve that tethers him in time.
He will lie warm until the bone is bare
and on a dead dark moon he wakes alone.
It was for Death he took her; death is but this;
and yet he is uneasy under her kiss
and winces from that acid of her desire.

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