London

April 26, 2017

He’s a man on the King’s Road—macintosh,
trilby hat—who kisses me by the newspaper
stand, says Come on babe and off we go,
on a bus over Chelsea Bridge to the locks
and market in Camden Town. He holds my hand,
says he likes to watch me age, play catch-up,
and he educates me, privately, during evening
South Bank strolls, buys me secondhand books,
recites the history of The Tower, tells me
about ice skaters on the Thames and how
Shakespeare and Marlowe would slap his back
after shows at The Theatre and Globe. But my man
sleeps with eyes open and those eyes are old.
I watch as he snores, dive down those pupils
and feel his river pulse through my body,
see the decaying faces of those it conceals.
The lights of Soho tickle my skin but even now
I’m not taken in by him. I’m not his only lover.
Why should I be? We’re unfaithful to each other.
Even though he makes me feel I matter, more than
anyone else has done or ever will, I can’t
give up everything to be with him. So I watch
my children play elsewhere in a garden we can
afford as I cyberstalk him on my phone,
imagine his sweaty body moving on top of me.
And I’m sniffing his pheromones and the thought
of him overtakes me again and part of me yearns
to be on a train back to sirens, lights, and fumes.

Lisa Parry

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