Iona May

BETWEEN US

I will wash up for you before I leave, but right now,
the morning can’t bear too much activity. Drinking
tea is the warmth of holding and I need this space
between us. Everything is almost on top of
something else and your birthday cake is not
the only thing that has lost its identity. A crisp packet
blossoms out of a wine glass. From here I can
almost see the whole of you. You are probably okay,
probably did not mind that I showed up late,
there were other people to make you feel special
and at least I was there for the dancing. A moth
flaps in and I can feel you watching her too.
She brings echoes of you – moths are a quirk of this flat,
and me – you should seal your woolens in plastic.
I stand, clap quick. She is dead in my palms.
I am elated like I’ve caught a ball impressively.
I know you will look away if I turn to you,
won’t want me to be hurt by your shocked eyes.
You know I know anyway and so you feel bad for hurting me.
I could say sorry. I go to the sink to wash her body away.
She was bigger and browner than most, she had moved
so slowly she’d made it look like flight
required all her concentration.

 

Between Us by Iona May was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2019) judged by Mandy Pannett.

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