Dare by Mark Pajak

You dare me
to cross Bently road naked.

Its three a.m.
and we’re the only two awake

and its icy and streetlights
shy down their yellow.

On the tarmac my bare foot
is a cut of salmon

on a black hob,
paleness searing into it.

Cars lean on the curb
like empty men at a bar,

each roofed
with nettle-hairs of frost.

My thighs flicker.
At the opposite hedge

I touch the sugar spoons
of privet leaves, unlock

a glittering sound of keys.
My fingers laced with blue.

My penis slunk
like a hand into its sleeve.

But as I turn back to you,
my stomach swills with heat

as if a red tap
had loosed its ribbon.

And as I cross the road again
my spine uncurls,

a fern in sunlight.
I reach you standing tall.

You with your arms full
of my clothes,

your bashful head bowed
but your side-on eye

unblinking as a fish.
The streetlight’s glow

has a whisky warmth. Your brow
sweats. The wet seal

of my mouth steams open.
And I dare you. I dare you.