A poem by GEORGE DENNIS.
Your bare feet
leave misty prints on the floor;
I’ll follow them through isles of tinned fruit,
across tiles of false marble that
capture the movement of water.
While you squint to read labels
and refresh in the cool shade of store,
I’ll catch my reflection looking up
from beneath me
and see I’m wearing his clothes, still
filthy and unshaven.
I lose you for a second,
amongst the frozen goods
and find a girl I’d previously forgotten.
Does she know these aren’t mine, and
has she smelt, upon my person,
the stench of damp and grease,
smoke and sweat?
When did you become a woman?
I would ask.
Who are you stacking shelves for?
And before asking her to try
the fruit, you appear,
sifting through the magazines,
lifting your shades to read the
headlines. Your eyes
jump from statistic to distraction
and back to me.
There seems little tragedy in the
shape of those numbers. I know
you’d rather rest awhile
amongst the Pink Ladies, with the
I could too, and watch those
glossy pages dance in the gentle
touches of air-conditioning.
And catch the light shining,
light fragmenting, through endless
stacks of bottled water.
How tempting it is
to place my hands upon a
monument so pure.
Cover it with my grime, smear it
with my sweaty palms.
Now a shopper breaks my gaze;
can’t they see that I’m desperate
I listen for your footsteps.
Mine wander towards the exit,
yours away to the
rhythm of the cashier’s call.
I have taken nothing
but relief from the heat.
Don’t forget the receipt.
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