You City, You Boyfriend

By Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan

Seated awkwardly, on a wooden box
We’re on the last of my cigarettes, my 5th in two hours.
He talks, and talks,
(and talks)
And my replies are only punctuation for his next sentence.

Across from a grey slab tower, the city smirks,
Raises an eyebrow as if to say
‘You know I’m so much better than him.’

And you’re right,
Because when we converse, through the choke of soft air,
We exhale each other in whispers on a walk home
Where a smile has broken my face from the realisation that
Yes, you are better than him.

You are better than all of them, because
You push up through my thin soles and I feel every pebble
When I’m treading across your tar-bump skin
And I feel embedded in you,
You city, you boyfriend, you dusty hug.
And when I tell you that you’re beautiful, you blush across the canal
Even though you already know that grey glamour suits you
And you don’t need to be told.

I wear you like an arm across my shoulder,
And when the wind pushes my hair back
I don’t need an errant hand across a café table to push it aside.
Like me, you play your cards close to your chest
But when we mourn we crack
With rain that pummels onto the pavements
And across a million cheap umbrellas.

So take me in and make me yours
Because I’ve already let the pollen in my pores anoint me
To an orchestra of rustling leaves and seagull song,
And one day, I will take thee to be my lawful wedded home
And I shall wear a dress of summer fog
And a ring of past lives
And you will smile, and shrug,
And in your humid indifference I will vow to love you anyway
Because I’m a hopeless romantic,
And you’re a city that keeps its own name.


Directed by Mo O'Connell.

"You City, You Boyfriend" reproduced with permission of the poet.