n. one of the hundreds of people that look like Sue from far away,
but who are in fact strangers.
Cottoning on too late, the Herne Hill train sparking slow
away into the sleet, that you are not you, but a telesue
coming in from the wings of the platform to play a cameo,
and I remember the background buzz of a fancy dress shop
as past tense as your maiden name, the pop and slup
of trying on fancy dress masks of cow heads, stormtroopers
and elven faces – shrieks as the elastics stripped our hair, stooped
almost kissing as I freed you and you freed me, and lost touch.
Now you’re just an AOL email address and a year, a smudge
in a photo from that Halloween party, you and your Carlsberg
leaning focusless into the frame, and here in the sleet the telesue
lips a favourite-coloured scarf against the wind, but Sue, real Sue
there are days I don’t believe in doubles or daydreams, when you’re behind every windscreen of every car coming the other way.
When I feel misery at treacle-speed empty
through my body, and get clicked awake by
the slightest sound, fearful of the future,
I walk out into the steep wood, and blearily
through the muck and owls I clamber up
without a torch, but in the quite blue light
that the moon reflects on us, I reflect on it.
I know the glittery pulp of mud will end
at the leaf-shadowed path you find by foot,
the path towards all wishes laid like stones:
the wind has spoken, and the stars say so too,
there I’ll find the good way home.