Well, Rufus, here’s a talent
for the inappropriate
to make the tawdriest suburban dogger blush –

and after all these months
as single as a bar-stool.

It’s not enough
that you look less at me
than at a passing bicycle

but still I make a case for you:
how suddenly you so surpass
the local streaks of piss, my friends
ring all the haddock-handed lads
and hit the pubs without me. I

must hear how you leave women
fired like bows in hotel-rooms
across the city, yet despite myself
I keep my health, I will grow old –
a clever woman wouldn’t die of feelings, merely.

Love, I wish you were ridiculous.
Best you never meet my friends –
who in their cups would tell you
how I starved for weeks and wandered
through the streets in borrowed dresses,
bless, aflame for an encounter. Dear

god. May you never know
how slow unlovely women burn,
nor how we keep our heads down.
Sod you. All the books say I must
break this at the stem. Live long,
die happy. Take these petals as they come –
for kisses, curses, kisses.