“Mamihlapinatapai " Poetry Monthly
The open plan office we shared.
Spacious, bright and airy, two desks apart.
Not close enough for footsie.
Static electricity, sparks flying, heart burn.
'Opps... Sorry!’ You would say passing close.
Foraging together, a shy glance behind a ream of A4.
Dancing eyes as hair is brushed over an ear, a smile in your direction.
Amidst the paper clips, envelopes and elastic bands, fingers touch at striped HB’s.
A tug of war ensues, that one's mine, no it isn’t, she teases.
Help me, you say, the copier, it's jammed again, deliberately.
Trembling hands shredding paper.
Canteen, small and intimate.
In silence, watching her fingers catch the flow, cold, warm, hot.
Hot, like the blood coursing through your pounding heart.
Heart bleeding as you stand next to her, washing the lipsticked cup.
The request for another stolen moment or two whispered.
Pass a tissue please, stay and dry fingers, slowly, one, two, three…
Name chalked on board.
Out of office, not back till...
Anguish as days slip by without sight of her.
Joy as she sweeps in through the door.
Uplifted, you walk tall, drink, you ask.
‘The usual please’ she replies subdued.
‘Relocation...' she whispers.
Despair at the news.
The farewell gifts, cards handed over, your scribbled kisses kept discrete.
'I can pop in and see everyone from time to time...!' she says.
Forgetting she will be six hundred and twenty-nine miles away…exactly, you checked.
A hug, a kiss, a wish for more.
Photographs, a chance to stand close, take another photo please.
Treasured copies kept, to look upon alone and weep.
You smile, linking arms, another hug, another kiss, lingering, longing.
Breathe in her perfume, wish for a fallen lock of hair to cherish.
Before she departs.
We must keep in touch. An email, a text, a phone call.
You say with a hint of desperation.
The inconsolable feeling of finality as she leaves.
And think how much you will miss her voice, her presence.
Miss everything about her.