I know that she’s not my girl, but you can’t blame me
for thinking on that night that she could be.
Trying to keep my distance on a single bed,
her back pushing into my chest with every breath,
making miles out of bedspread millimetres
trying to lengthen the distance between us.
The heat of her skin, and the notion that ‘maybe,’
just maybe, stirred by the gin we’d finished at three,
forgetting her boyfriend on the other side of town,
the missed calls illuminated on the phone she’d put down
as she’d slipped under the covers like water,
and flashed a grin that left no choice but to follow her.
I have never been so conflicted, torn between the moment
and the inevitable, crippling guilt of the morning.
Naked back to the wall and hand on her thigh,
radiator skin and the warmth it supplied.
To make myself someone I’d always hated, or stay celibate,
to sleep on the couch instead, to just forget about it.
And in the end, I couldn’t bear to be that man to you,
but still had trouble looking you in the eyes at Waterloo,
because that night I left my left hand nestled on her thigh,
and counted the seconds spanning centuries to pass the time.
Chichester, February 2017