She takes him up to the 32nd floor
in London’s hard money district
to celebrate the big day at a restaurant
significantly closer to Heaven.
The protuberances of high finance
poke through cloud, chrome-ribbed:
the cigarette lighter, the vibrator,
the Ladyshave, the vast dictaphone,
all the naff caboodle of an 80’s playboy
or some gargantuan James Bond
who’s just tossed the lot away.
Vertigo zip wires from his calves
to his gut to the sirenscape below
as they toast the Anniversary.
She’s the one with a head for heights.
For him, it’s the perfect altitude
for another assisted crash landing
while she circles over the big stuff:
kids, house, holidays, hormones
the lack of public hand-holding.
THE COMPLETE FAILURE
TO HOLD FUCKING HANDS.
The Szechuan signature dishes
undress in his shuttered mouth
but none of the words will come.
Eastwards, along the brown river,
brass cymbals of sunlight crash
over mansion blocks and stadiums,
carparks, markets and stockyards,
over all the choked roads that head
everywhere but to this ledge.
He presses his palm into hers.
Their fingers steeple to a summit.
A thousand feet up, his life still beats
to every breathless second of her.
Runner-up in the Ware Poet’s Prize 2016