1.

The morning mists
lifted, and
the south road pushed on.

2.

A castle had long before been
knocked down
by the governor.
Maug had never seen it.

3.

The governor, enveloped
in tobacco clouds, had then
disappeared. But
his voice
lingered in Maug’s mind.

4.

Fumbling his scraggy
genitals, Maug said,
He worked through
my fingers and
tongue. I
waked
in the mornings to
his breath in my throat.

5.

H said, We
two faggots
will be company enough
without
a third coming inside you.

6.

He put his arm about
Maug and gave
some inarticulate chirps.
From curious
recesses unknown to H,
the binding hung
loose.

7.

He had not
the same deep yearning that
had pained him
before. The marble ruin,
like some mountain,
revealed itself on the north of the island
a common
disappointed ambition.

8.

No one would have
recognized H, like a bird
in the love season.
An idol by
the road cast its shadow
over his sex.

9.

Maug, bright and
bare, was
chasing a butterfly amid
the yellow-tipped gorse, so much
younger than
the great House of Athol.

10.

H leapt
on this creature, and
the beast
looked up
with eyes hazy and familiar.

11.

What are you? said H.
Maug tumbled
his rider.
Did you think
I was drowned? he said.
I’m the governor.

12.

Deprived of his immediate
object of affection, H lavished
on the stranger
caresses.
He throve. He
grew.
The governor’s quick right hand found
where his account lay.

13.

The man
wrecked H
as he would a goose on a dinner plate.

14.

Of the two emotions
love and
dread, neither
led the way to the governor.
H’s carcase lay
against him, his vow
thicker than blood.

15.

He said, I’ll do your bidding. My flesh
shall be yours for life.
But the price
is Maug.
A pole at the end of a sandstone jetty
caught the light
painfully.

16.

Through the smell of sweat came
that of semen. He’s
a donkey of a lad, said
the governor. My heart is his, too.

17.

His eyes softened, and
the dark was broken. Maug
blushed. H felt his cheeks burn red.
Like the year’s first violet
on the path, the two,
without words, embraced.