'Words are just the things you say'
was not the thing to say to her,
watching cars go under the bridge
and come out the other side.
That boy from Preston had called
and made her mascara run.
'Sometimes I wish I was still little
when stupid boys didn't matter
and the only thing that hurt was grazing your knee',
which may have only been words,
but acting like a kid can be fun.
I gave her a shove and she pushed
me back as I walked off. I turned
and laughed seeing her spit
on the cars on the road below.
That night the news was full of police tape
flapping lamely over bundles of flowers
and a few handwritten notes.
Like a raindrop on a window pane,
this could mean much more than it does.
But then again, it could be just that:
a cold, singular drop of rain
falling in and out of the imagination
over the pieces of glass
lying broken on the floor
after the phone had rung
to tell her what had happened,
and it all fell silent
till she put the phone back
and went up the stairs to the bathroom
to sit opposite the mirror,
brushing her hair away
with tears down her cheeks,
and all the face staring back at her
seemed to say was you know
this is its own kind of prison
and we would love you to be in it.
That night the architect slept
and dreamt of cities:
bar under skyscrapers
'A beer and some jerk'
'You are what you eat'
Sunken goldfish bowl
swimming in liquor
Green haired ghoul
urine car park
footsteps catching up
Wind caught cheek
look down street below
landing on the soft sheets
to see the morning sun
rendering the scene outside.
Her breath warmed my cheek
with the contentment of her sleep, a reprieve
from the cold dark covering
the tangle of our clothes on the floor,
legs of jeans crossed with arms of jumpers.
Becoming each other's outline
until sometime later when I rose and
pulled up the blind to see a deluge of white
as if we were inside a snow shaker
which had been left to settle.
I lay down next to her, kissed a cheek
and clung to the warmth of her frame.
Robert Van Egghen is a UEA graduate, now working as an English teacher in Japan. His poetry and journalism have appeared in various publications. Someone once called him "the lovechild of Keats and Jimmy Carr". He's not sure if he likes that.