I’ll take your hand, the left,
and ask that it still have life
to hold my hand, the right,
as I walk alone where we walked,
or to lie all night on my breast,
at rest, or to stop all talk with a finger
pressed to my lips.

I’ll take your lips,
ask, when I close my eyes, as though
in prayer, that they ripen out of the air
to be there again on mine,
or to say my name, or to smile, or to kiss
the sleep from my eyes. I’ll take

your eyes,
nothing like, lovelier under, the sun,
and ask that they wake to see, to look
at me, even to cry, so long as I feel their tears
on your face, warm rain on a rose.

Your face I’ll take, asleep, ask that I learn,
by heart, the tilt of your nose; or awake, and ask
that I touch with my tongue the soft buds of the lobes
of your ears

and I’ll take them, too
ask that they feel my breath shape
into living words, that they hear.

I’ll take your breath
and ask that it comes and goes, comes and goes, forever,

like the blush under your cheek, and I’ll even settle for that. Whatever.

From Rapture (Picador, 2005), Carol Ann Duffy 2005, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Carol Ann Duffy in the Poetry Store

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