Four favours

saw her in a bar
on Upper Street
a favour:
can I be cheeky
and pinch a cigarette?
the packet smiles
a small spark, then small talk
and we are knowing each other
gradually, in small bursts
smoke flutes to a jaundiced ceiling
words fall on open ears

I am out of cash, out of bounds
a second favour:
do you know any other bars
with en-face cashpoint?
she senses
and we are gone, to black lines
through tunnels to caverns
in subterranea
we sink drinks
discover much in common

but now it’s late
and I don’t know this place
half as well
as I do her
another favour:
is there a night bus
a place to get a reputable taxi?
now she laughs
tongue betrayed by aniseed
and we roll to her pad
hollow chintz and plastered rental
the spare room is made
and remains so

next morning
push my hair nervously
hide my legs
her cardigan arms folded
the door easily marked
here’s my e-mail address
informally rebuff me sometime
leave my Inbox (0)
and I taste her
on the central line

soon forgotten
but one day
in between football fixtures and discount CDs
Inbox (1)
I open the attachment
“Ruth 020 7527 2610
For favours”


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