It must be God’s sense of humour
the transmission of love or desire is full of static
ungainly pulses of coded deniability
crackling through uncertain receivers
the communication of hostility swift and clear
greeting eyes convey chill
even as hands clasp in neutrality
and tongues offer frost breaking platitudes.
Instant dislike –
just add water, and ice
partisan always ….. there are no rules, only circumstance.
Born in the town and inducted into his father’s profession
he was the local boy made good.
Some whispered birthright bequeathed his position
but he had proved worthy of the title.
For a few years, long enough
for loan to become mortgage
he had been the hot young star … and now, a new prospectus.
Exactly the same age
almost the same point on the curve
we might have been friends
but pettiness conjured a privileged rival.
When the heaviness of employment fell
he offered not one softening word.
Perhaps emotion was imprisoned by background
unable to escape the warders of self-expression.
A month later our lives cross at a traffic crossroads
I raised a hand in greeting. No acknowledgement,
only a cold look – disdain
less than contempt, more than ridicule.
Spiteful and humiliating, but not unwelcome
relief that what suspicion whispered
through a lonely earpiece, was not gossip, but
affirmation of intuition’s warranty.