A Vignette

What have you been doing?

Oh nothing much.

What does that mean?

Nothing much. This and that. Pottering.

Pottering?

Yes. Feeding the plants. Weeding. Bit of pruning. Bits and bats. Pottering.

Is that all? It’s pathetic.

No, it’s not all, actually. The main thing I’ve been doing is avoiding you.

A Small Act Of Vengeance

The father arrives.

He pulls up on the road and he beeps the horn

and he waits. Perhaps he beeps again.

But he always waits.

The boys are never ready. He waits five, ten,

sometimes more minutes, but he always

has to wait. When the door of the house opens

the boys run down to the car, hurrying,

eager to see him. They have been waiting, too.

The couple parted some years ago. Who knows

who left who, or why anyone should care?

She stayed in the house, the family home,

and he didn’t. He has a new life now,

a new woman, and a new place to live.

The mother has a new man, too, someone

lumpen and sullen and dull. She found

him in town after running around

for a while dressed in desperate fashion.

From the window, she sometimes looks as the

man and his boys drive away.

But only sometimes.

The new man never looks, or speaks,

or smiles. The father drives too quickly,

coming and going in repentant haste

on this small road, where his

small boys live their contained lives.

He comes, and he waits.

Perhaps he is already annoyed

before he even gets here by this

small act of vengeance.

A Mystery

When I kissed you as you left

today, we were as close as we could get

and yet we were still indistinct

to each other, from one another, thinking

different things together, separating.

We had been so close that what was on you

was now on me. I took your scent, tasted it,

carried it on my lips, the essence of you

with me still, in your absence. We had

been so close but still I could not know

what was in your mind, or in your heart.

We believe we know, we coupled folk, we

long-time lovers and lifers together, but

it isn’t true. We never do. I don’t know you,

you don’t know me.

Perhaps that is as it should be.

This may be true for all the others,

for all the unknown, untouched,

untold lovers.

What we all know, if nothing else:

we are a mystery to ourselves.

No Other

Loving you

Is hard to do

I’m not an easy lover

But loving you

Is easy too

For me there is

No other

What Shall We Do?

Shall we carry on like this, the way we are, close

but not quite together? One couple that is

two distinct people, different in every way

except for our love for one another? Shall we

continue, side by side but out of step, walking

through life together, but in different directions?

Is that such a bad way to be?

I would rather be with you than anyone, so

why can we not just get along, plod on, and give

and take what we can from each other? Let me

write and think and things, give me headspace

to play in. You can do what you love, too,

dance and jig your days away, be unique.

The more I see of other people, the more I know

that we’re not freaks. The couples sitting in the

bars, driving past us in their cars, saying nothing,

thinking something like ‘I wish I was elsewhere’.

There is the truth.

We both were different at the start,

we never were the same,

now both together but apart,

that’s how it will remain,

and when we each face up to that,

we’ll both be glad again.

Not A Morning Person

It’s the usual routine.

The morning avoiding, waiting

for her to become human again.

She is not a morning person.

We dance around ourselves, hide

in rooms where the other is not, move

to the hidden spaces like soldiers,

avoiding sniping. I get a shot at

for what I have not done yet, the

boring chores that, more and more,

interest me less and less.

There is more to life.

After a while, we find our places,

separate spaces where we can be

alone together, out of range

of each other, while the dead morning

falls. I wait until she recalls

what our nearly normal is. However

did it come to this?

Life can be so good.

I wonder why we always

manage to make it

not so.

The Orphans

A man I met on holiday

told me once the story

of how he never met his mother.

She was blown to blitz

in the same old war that

his father fell for.

Their only child, he’d been

sent away to stay in a place

full of strangers, with dangers

of its own. He had known

no relative love or tenderness,

just the kindness of strangers.

He smiled unceasingly.

The woman he’d wed, an orphan

like him, said they were paired,

that they cared for each other,

sister and brother as much

as lovers. She grinned without end

at her partner, her friend.

I thought of them today when

I heard the distaste in the bray

of your voice. The orphans had

found each other, each chosen

the other and chosen to be happy

together. You and I came together,

we were never the chosen.

We do not like the same,

we are unlike each other

and like one another now and then.

If we too were orphans, I wonder

often if you would be better

widowed.

She Moves Forward

She steps out of the door and moves

forward. Before her are her dreams,

the things she wants and needs, the

hopes and likes and loves of her life

that are yet to come. They have plagued her,

these dreams, haunted her waking hours

for so many years that she has come to

resent their pressure, the weight of them

on her daily life.

Today she is weightless.

Today is the leaving day, the day

when she goes out into the world, to make

of it what she can. She hopes to find joy

out there

joy in being, a feeling that she has yet to touch

her. She does not know if what she is will be

enough for the world, and she knows that

the world may be too much for her, but

she will try.

She will try.

Behind her, they smile and wave and wish

her well, and then they close the door and

let her go

and tears

flow.

What She Left

When he picked up the scarf he realised

that she had left it behind deliberately. The

house keys were on the table, next to the scarf,

and the money that they’d argued about. She

had taken everything else, all her other

belongings, the clothes and shoes and jewellery

and music, the personal things, things

that he would not use himself. She had taken

her perfume, too, though the scent of her

lingered, on the scarf,

which she had left

deliberately.

The only other thing that she

had left behind

was him.