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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Claire Everett


long before dawn
the sun whispers . . .
moon-silvered tide

When I arrive, you always look pleased to see me. You're not a great kisser. Your blue, blue eyes, like your stories, don't take me in. We go out most evenings, but if we do decide to stay in, you cook for us because you want to, not because it's a great way to avoid talking to me. You buy the wine (always red); it's never something I've chosen mainly for the name . . . Turning Leaf, Crow's Landing. We don't have the same taste in music. We never talk about literature, or swap books we've enjoyed. When we're apart you always answer your phone, never forget to charge it, or leave it at your mate's house, or in the pocket of your jeans which you just put in on an express-wash. I don't feel the need to ask searching questions, so two tumblers never miraculously appear on the table. You're generous with the tonic. And the ice.

following the grain . . .
another four fingers
of vodka

We never agreed to take things slowly. We know exactly what this is and we'll go for it, hell for leather, until we burn ourselves out. Your ex-girlfriend wasn't an alcoholic. She didn't overdose on paracetamol. She hadn't been calling you all morning. Why would she? She knew exactly where you were. You were at her side. Your favourite photograph of her (the one when you snapped her – from the shoulders up – fresh from the shower) doesn't stare across at me from the bookshelf. Her wide, childlike eyes don't seem to ask me what I think I'm doing here. They don't look dead already.

This room is light and airy. It's not painted that murky yellow they advise you to steer clear of if you're prone to depression.

This room has French windows that open onto the garden. Sometimes we step outside to gaze at the stars.

This room is no more real than we are.

day moon . . .
the lip-prints on the glass
aren't mine