for Julia Copus
They never lock their homes this far from town.
He lives alone next-door to her alone.
They only see each other out-of-doors,
incurious acquaintances for years.
A chance remark from her, across the bins,
in tears, and he pops round, lets himself in
while she is out, with half a glass of wine
to leave beside her tissues and her phone.
He moans about the night-long owls and she
comes over with a sketch of him asleep –
stick-man amid a crowd of zeds and stars –
and weights it with two earplugs on his stairs.
She mentions that she’s heard a song she likes
and, two days later, early, she awakes
to find a new disc spinning out the tune
through grand new speakers in her living room.
And this is how a thing can escalate –
from her to him, in time of rain, a boat;
while no acknowledgement, no thanks is said;
from him to her, her likeness cast in gold;
and no, this will not end with them in bed;
from her to him, from him to her, the world.
from Take This One to Bed
(Valley Press, October 2016)