and there is a light on the table,
and a saucer
but no ashtray.
and she is drinking vodka
in a glass with no ice
while he sits on the bed,
his legs crossed at the ankles
and his back
pressed against the wall.
it is winter here;
all week the rainsoaked pavements
shining white
with second-hand skyshine,
and he keeps looking at her
and she keeps looking out of the window,
then back at the page,
shaping phrases
and scratching things out
in the play,
her second,
which still
is not about them.
they both wrote like liars
with bad imaginations
and neither smoked enough
to justify an ashtray.
and he was piecing together a poem
which he thought looked pretty good
inspired by the way
the light was hitting her
so soft as it came through the window –
as if it could make him feel
something –
as if everything
about her
didn’t make him
feel something.
and while the play was eventually produced
the poem never was published,
and he wrote some other poems
about her, and about her writing the play
and him writing a poem while she wrote the play
but she never bothered with a play
about his underpublished poems
and that was the day he best remembered her
when he tried his best to remember
the days
which had been best.

DS Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His first collection, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden”, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press, with “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019.