Poem by Sandra Galton

Unrequited

I walk into a room and
the way you pull back a chair for yourself
tells me how afraid you are of hurting it.
I say are we two peas in a pod?
and you stare like there’s never been a yesterday.

I say I have a nightingale, it’s caught in my throat,
will you help me to release it?

Of course, you say.

I say where is your heart?
and you cross your legs, taking care
not to hurt the chair.

I say I will tell you things –
look into the black spools of my eyes,
lift the child who has discovered
gold in a buttercup she has plucked
from a nameless lawn.
Lift the woman, all her laughter.

Yes, you say, but do not move.
I say maybe you see a cauliflower that’s bolted,
maybe – ?

You shift in your chair, but do not answer.

I say please then,
please may he walk sweetly away.

Unrequited by Sandra Galton was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2018) judged by Mandy Pannett.