Ros Barber Girls' High Empties
Their blouses, the hours of a dandelion clock
blown in breaths from double doors.
Puffs of them soften the gate in clots
or clog up the road they shouldn’t cross –
none of them looking, none of them yours:
drifts of girls, their legs held up by socks.
Bottle-green blazers, fingers bruised with blue
and all their sunlit lips unhurt by kisses, blow
by blow, blow past the boy without a clue,
who just for a second dreams he isn’t you –
and almost look, but no – and on they go.
It’s agony to stand here, but you do.
And then they’re gone, like summer shuttered out,
bouquets thrown gently into each other’s homes
to comb their hair and let their legs out long,
and long, long after, you’ll be hanging on
with the frozen hope that one of them might, alone,
come back this way for something she forgot.
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