May 15th

It’s still dark
and the morning smells of blossom
and of the rain
that will fall later,
soaking us,
soaking all
the posters,
the banners and the fliers,
bleeding their simple, bold
primary colours,
until they run together,

It’s election day,
and I miss you.

Day breaks damp
and anticlimactic,
and last night slowly
leaches out of the hazed-up sky,
gradually lightening
to greyness and drizzle
by seven a.m.,
when the polls open
and the day floods
with a tide of people
who are not you.

It’s not just
that politics makes me miss you more,
but it isn’t helping.
It’s all of it:
the long campaign
to get to here
– wherever ‘here’ is –
in this chilly morning
of driveways and doorsteps,
and the clipboard getting heavier
as the rain sets in.
You’re not here,
and you should be,
and I’m lost
in a landslide of missing you.

Amid the promises of change
and the prophecies of doom and disaster,
I notice
the space you should be occupying.

Every now and then,
on the air,
between the lilac
and the cherry blossom,
piercing the cool green smell
of carefully tended lawns,
I catch it:
brief and ghostly,
achingly tender,
your scent,
coming to me through the damp May morning,
until the wash of rain
displaces it.

I got by without you
on my birthday,
I wish you were here for this.
I couldn’t say why,
but I knew it mattered.
Falling asleep
to the live TV drone
of the returns being announced
and the world
not changing
how we wanted it to,
I knew
it mattered.

More asleep than awake,
I hear as your constituency
falls to the Tories.

Election day drains
into a tomorrow we didn’t vote for,
and I miss you.


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