I’m drunk, I must be,
because you have that vacant look in your eyes,
right hand down by your side,
copper scarf tight around ivory neck,
as if trying to choke the words you want to say.

I’m spewing about something or other,
slurring the words and mixing up the verbs
and I swear I hear you tut through your teeth,
illuminating as a blur under the incessant hum
of the streetlights marking our way home.

You’re looking out at something in the distant,
which means I’ve lost you to the moment
as the drink rises in my throat like acid
until I have to turn away exhale long and slow,
tasting the first cider of the night from three hours ago.

I’d tell you it was the first of three,
but you know me better than that.
And when I turn back I find I don’t know you at all,
cannot place your sequined top or skinny jeans,
before realising the fool I’ve been.

Confessing the exploits of the night to who I thought was Madeline,
but is actually just a storefront mannequin.
I stumble home, tell her I can get past this,
that she’s worth more than the woman wrapped in plastic.

Chichester, May 2017


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