Intimacy is your grey-green eyes flashing their hooded secret to me
Down the length of this shopping mall, competing so easily
With the neon logos that it’s a lay down misère.
It’s the curls of the hair on your neck at dawn

As you sleep in the bed, for thirty-years-a-share.
Intimacy is your generous and slightly undisciplined mouth
Outlining the words ‘I love you’ as you hang clothes on the line,
Trousers from the waist, socks toe by toe.

It’s the lambent warmth of your tongue
As you snuggle into my neck, the day’s work done.
Intimacy is your warm telephone voice bathing my ear in Beijing
As 1.3 billion people strive to make things better

In a dangerous world, taking on the ministers of the dead.
It’s the frozen stride which, in your pyjamas,
Your legs have taken, your hands cradling your head.
Intimacy is both your laughter and your tears,

Rejoicing in a joke about a duck going into a pub,
Or contemplating the slow decline of your dad in his Hornsby home.
It’s your stooping figure in our garden, shaking
A pulled tussock of grass, and filling the air with loam

Intimacy is the gift you have given me
A treasure replacing pearls and diamonds
Simplicity replacing the complex
Making sense of sense making
And making sense of me.

On this your birthday, take this poem, and turn it
Into something which for you means

SYDNEY 16 November 2004 (Revised 2016)