Memory alone has an address.
Letters and a photograph
still waiting in a carton camp
at Mum and Dad’s, a friend’s, a garage somewhere
of when love auditioned
and nearly did.
The rhythms of farewell
tangible, all these years later
youth hostel Puritanism
rigid separation of sexes
to prevent sex
capacity rooms moat boldness
crowding, a trustworthy chaperone.
A slow march through the city in creeping winter
before dawn Check-in to instant summer.
no starter or sweet
we told the waitress
time was urgent
a lie to hide poverty.
Paper cups in a suburban park
wine from a brown paper bag
unmanly is confused with manhood.
Quiet post-midnight hours cramped on a couch
before returning to separate rooms.
In the unjudging dark both are brave
laughter elbows aside tenderness.
Bruised sky of morning regret
lonely walk back to what was
imagination replays intense whispers of reunion.
I never saw her again.
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