Longlisted Poem 2011

Emma Mackilligin

Collingham College, London

A Love Poem.

Let’s listen to The Band
and dance until our breath gets lost
somewhere between lung and lip.

Then we’ll collapse in a mess of limbs,
against the sound of our happy-sad laughter.
I feel like crying
but my tears would fall on your cheeks

So instead we laugh
and it rings loud through open windows
as we clutch each other in joyful despair.

We fall silent,
You fall asleep,
I fall in love with you again.
Tangled in fear and pain and crumpled bed sheets
we sleep on a single mattress
on the dusty floor
of our crumbly flat.

Early morning sun is milky and weak and pale.
It makes the dust dance dimly
in the thick summer air.

I look at your watch –
Five a.m.

Our curtains are lace –
But useless.
But so pretty.

You stretch a little
And stroke my hair and kiss my bony wrist.
I sigh softly
and shut my eyes against the day and we sleep
till six p.m.

We listen to The Kinks
and dance and sing and drink
and laugh and leave
our perfect mattress
to rejoin the world.

For an hour or four
or as many as we can bear
before the longing
to be silent and still
and together and alone
Overtakes and overcomes.

Then we retreat
to our beautiful, broken, little room
and fill another day
with sleeps and sighs
and secret smiles
until the music starts again.
© Emma Mackilligin

Project Details

  • Date January 27, 2015
  • Tags 2011 Simplicity - Longlisted Poems