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Moli Lloyd Evans


At the End of the Phone

She picks up. The voice asks her

what she’s eaten, is she okay, how

many steps were taken to the bus,

was it cold and is there anything

to report like last week’s promotion.

The voice is okay too, teases

the phone cable between finger

and thumb, leaning

slightly

on the cabinet,

one foot in a slipper

and another misplaced,

or forgotten. The voice is okay.

She answers. The voice wants to hear:

tomato soup from the tin, a little

full of something caught,

seventy-two steps, cold

with the mischief of winter sun and a boy

with arms to carry the weight

of a bad day. The voice

is okay too, sits by untouched plate,

bladder dry, volume high, resting

head in hand

to release the skull

from the candle wick

neck. The voice is okay.

She stares at a phone undisturbed.

She thinks of the moment

a cinema becomes a room, a nod

to refusing dessert, a mouth

falling open on a pillow, the sand

in the footwell of a car,

the half-sip from a glass,

the tube stop in zone six,

lights out at the supermarket,

a cone without ice-cream,

the final ring before the beep.

On the Fifteenth Floor

Time is a childish thing,

never reads the mood of a room before a declaration.

It speaks in your dull accent and expensive suit,

I look far down at the pavement mottled in smudges

of distinct length and pace. Some slow and patient,

others as fast as they can bear, like insects shrugging off

the last of a rainfall. You can have the bookcase

if it will fit in the lift. I asked you once

what our empty window boxes mean to other people.

Now I want the watercolour teapot, Victorian birdcage

and bamboo rocking chair. Your hands

don’t belong to you as they exaggerate your talk

of halves. And the leather ottoman is yours. Our days

spent in the kitchen, you chewing over that something

about waking up fifteen floors above the postman.

The sun takes its time with the floorboards as always

and now you’re talking magazine subscriptions. I never felt

that something. I’ll give you plenty of time. I’ll give you

the Japanese paper knife and the geometric lampshade.

But time, already escaped us for something better.

Home

I loved the Tudor arch with trumpet vine,

texture of the sun-dried brick,

sweet pea on the porch step.

Letterbox in royal blue, moonflower

spilling out the guttering, ginger cat

basking. I could leave

the front door swinging, hot sun

curling into the hilltops and we would

spin barefoot in the tall, emerald grass.

Cool off together on the bathroom tiles

with June greasing the backs

of the beetles. Cabbage flies tunnelled

into July’s meaty crop, we smoked cigars

on the rosewood decking. Skin cracking

at the knees and elbows, August

felt like hot butter in a pan.

I know the end came long before we left,

lying on the driveway legs extended,

aphids alive in the air. Autumn never

came, bulbs opening, trees abandoning

a turn of season. Everything unfallen,

just a mighty, bloated heat. We begged

for the birds to move on, covered ourselves

in juice from the aloe vera. It got hotter,

November spent on the tiles, the wallpaper

starting to peel. He tried to comfort me

with our palms coated in salty oil,

our porch step like smouldering coal.

All the framed faces drooped to the floor,

the ginger cat left us

and followed the fox into the burning

woodland, I could not cry. Kneeling

at the freezer our ears rang, faces blistered.

Panting dogs with tongues swollen, January

never came. And when it was finally time

to go, we held each other and never left.

Tulips

Heat of the Red Light

on our cheeks, dust

from the two wheelers

dressing up the cobblestones.

Rows of bobbleheads

in yellow, plum and magenta,

a hundred upright fists

towards the blackened sky.

You press me

against a closed barber shop,

your breasts to mine. And so,

I tell you I crouch down

in the shower when I’m sad.

Like a salesman

I ease you in gently.

Tell you the water tunes

my body like a violin,

a body full of sinking purrs.

Palm to lamppost

you circle the city

and I ask you your name

again. You say you hate

looking too much like yourself

in pictures. In the crystalline

lights you look like

you belong

under almond blossoms.

Over the waxen canal

I tell you I want bad things

to happen to me so I can smell

affection in white bouquets.

You take me

to a beat-up hotel and I lose

inches from the things I say,

Until, like flowers -

you know the rest.

Plant Food

in the air pockets of the morning

flood you talk with your mouth

full so i watch

the cud of your bran flakes, churning

like butter and i wonder

if you ever think of your age.

that sound from your gullet

is the thing i hate the most

and i just can’t recall a version

of your company i enjoy.

the things i could say pass like snow

until you’ve left and i’m left

with the way you can’t rehome a towel.

falling out of love

with you briefly lets me pause

on things. i think of what

you said about my mother last night.

i think of how you always talk

plant food with the neighbours. late

afternoon you’re here again, so it’s bad tv

and the shaded words when you speak

of our financials. once abed

i think of the way you text

only in capital letters.

as you slumber your fingers

find their way to the heat

of my body,

and even in sleep we move like wheel

and spoke. i think of how you always

talk to dogs like they know something

and how the first time

i saw you

was our third date. perhaps,

watering.


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