My mordant friend told me the story of
the woman he loved in youth in Oxford
who had, he said, ‘a hospitable cunt’.

That was the obstacle – hospitable
to him, but to others too, and he was
in love. I met her once, in middle years

still beautiful, and with a voice to charm
and command. The slightest incisor gap
was that single imperfection they say

the gods must impose on those they favour.
Later again she had the gap repaired,
giving herself new beauty in old age.

Hospitable still, the cunt? I can’t say.
My friend married of course, but he carried
that flame for her, and was unforgiving.