I think what I’ve always liked
is your innocence, he told me.
You have the trusting eyes
the simple mind
of a child or a very young wildcat or hind
or an as yet unwhipped bitch.
Once saw a bitch
on the filthy beach at Roches Noires
belly distended, paps hanging
gaze at me then go running into the sea
from the flies and a hail of stones thrown by jeering boys.
She would worship any one of those boys
for a friendly word or a pat;
remembers in her dreams
being petted and dreams still
though she knows now life is not like that.