Falconio’s lab shows blackout curtains to the street.
Inside, an anglepoise casts light silver as a shilling
onto the dish where ten-pence pieces sprout nubs
that sharpen into claws. Falconio nudges the crabs
into a sand tray. They jingle as they copulate
and spawn clutches of black-eyed eggs at night.
His partner Amor sews Mexican doubloons
into a glittering headdress she calls Montezuma.
The coins grow forked tongues, feathers, scales,
horns. Spawn of Quetzalcoatl, plumed serpent,
patron deity of traders. The little reptiles slobber
as Amor loosens a guinea-pig’s guts with a dagger.
Midnight, midwinter, Amor buries her MasterCard
in compost. By March a slender shoot emerges.
Amor sprays Miracle-Gro over the boy’s crown,
temple, neck and spine. Falconio ushers you in.
A beginning is a tantalising time, he whispers.
Listen. Can you hear our beauty breathing?