Stratford-Upon-Avon, April, in the rain

I see her,

fidgety April wind teasing

twists of her long, dark hair

across lips,

full and pouting,

reddened the colour of stop-signs.

I see her,

leant against the concrete wall’s

chilly blankness,

underneath the overhang,

so the pale April sun

catches on cheekbones, collar bones,

chipped out of soapstone,

but the rain misses her.

I see her shiver against damp air

brushing the strip of exposed white skin

where jeans and jacket

don’t quite meet,

and I’m in lust.

I see her bangled hand

reach into the bag

bumping the slice of her hip,

come up with a pack of smokes,

and I’m in love.

Just for a second or so

– as those red vinyl lips

coat a cigarette filter

glossy blood-stained,

as her lighter strikes sparks

in bottle-green eyes

before they sweep closed,

dark and smudgy with kohl,

on the inhale –

just for that second,

I swear it’s love.

I see pristine skin tighten

against the damp, cool edge of the breeze.

I see her throat twitch

as she breathes in smoke,

a taut, hungry motion,

and I think

perhaps I’ll speak to her.

Perhaps I’ll say something

incisive and brilliant,

and she’ll laugh,

and then everything else

will fall into place.


But no.


I just watch

from behind dark glasses,

as her boots kick restless rhythms on the pavement,

and I smoke my own cigarette,

and concentrate on sheltering from drizzle.

It’s better this way,



all we have in common

is a shared craving for nicotine,

the desire to keep out of the rain.


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