Monday, 19 November 2012



“Oh!” she said, and stopped.
The sound repeating over
and over in her head,
much louder than she’d actually said it: Oh.

The picture still in her hand, showing him and the ex-girlfriend
who she’d never seen, or heard described – yet somehow, she knew
not a friend, or cousin, or any other ex, she knew

and that ‘Oh’
struck right to her core,
because she knew, too,
that he’d been right (not that
he’d ever said this, or could)
– that this was

so clearly, the kind of love she’d never had,
with him, or anyone –
never would, perhaps, she thought
(but this really was an afterthought,
a conscious attempt to redirect, reassert
her own claim on happiness).

Because what had really been expressed in that ‘Oh’
was just sadness.
They should be together, she thought (she knew),
and why oh why oh why did they ever
split up.

(Which she knew, too,
 he’d spent roughly the last two years asking himself,
including the three months or so she’d known him.)

Still staring, sensing how self-destructive this was,
but unable to escape
that picture, which she knew she’d never escape –

the look in their eyes, their faces, laughter, smiles,
all somehow combining to suggest such perfect
(Like children accepting all innocent
that the world is benign.)

It cut straight into her, cut her breath, stopped her voice, left that ‘Oh’
hanging, repeating inside her mind,
long after she’d left the room,
left him,
all behind.

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