I say, it’s not you, it’s me. Repeat three times, till
her face softens and I know the words have sunk in.
I’ll always love you, I add, waiting for the smile
that makes things better. I say I’ll fix
a chilli for dinner, homemade guacamole,
my famous salsa with tomatoes just past ripe.
I hold the door; tip my chin for the kiss and she’s off.
All through the breakfast dishes I think how
this will blow over. I go to the wholefood store, pricey
but the only place with bird’s eye peppers; select
an avocado, thumb its belly for softness.
I imagine her at the bike co-op, hands slippery
with grease; stripping down, rebuilding bikes from scratch.
She is fixing punctures for lazy cyclists: holding
the inner tube underwater and watching
the stream of bubbles rise in a silver chain.
Rosie Garland is a novelist, poet, and singer in post-punk band The March Violets. Her award-winning poetry has been widely published. Her latest solo collection is Everything Must Go (Holland Park Press), based on her experience of throat cancer. Her debut novel The Palace of Curiosities was published by HarperCollins in March 2013 and a second novel, Vixen, is out July 2014. http://www.rosiegarland.com/
Photo by Jonathan Bean.