Painted Lady Motel
Tue, 23 Feb 2016
It’s thirty years since we booked in to that seedy motel;
Mr and Mrs Might-Have-Beens, if we both hadn’t married
way too young, as one did, years ago.
There were white curtains in our room – billowed
with light – they accepted our presence the way
a winter field accepts a solitary lapwing...
even though the bed creaked and the cistern leaked
and Dillon’s ‘Lay, Lady, Lay’, ran riot, on repeat
around my head.
And after...the little boat we hired on the Cam...oars stroking
silken waters, and your hair – weeping into evening mist...
as we lost an oar, then coasted back downstream.
On the way home – I recall you dropped me two streets
from where I lived...where you picked me up, incidentally,
because of the twitchers’ brigade.
In those days I didn’t drive. Women didn’t tend to, then.
The trick for survival was keeping busy...keeping house,
keeping up appearances –
cooking, cleaning, washing; opening the door to angels...
letting them in; cold calling at its most intense.
Tonight, you begged me leave him – go with you that evening...
but then, what about the kids? And I said, “Forgive me,
but it’s been a terrible mistake.”
A moment missed, a journey not made, and how I wished
I could have opened to you, and that you had taught me to fly.