Lovers’ Tiff

A romantic crisis breaks out like sweat
outside this steamed-up, greasy spoon pane –
I’m not concentrating on my chips and fried egg,
not seeing all the things in the street,
I’m looking straight through the passers by
as if they were daytime phantoms of life’s
shadow dance round my sedentary thoughts.

I’m focused entirely on the face of the boy,
his pleading eyes trying to penetrate
the shaded emotions through his girlfriend’s sunglasses,
tears slowly beading the rims of the lenses –
what’s he trying to tell her as she trembles?
What’s he struggling to express as he fingers
her tissue-clenched hands – mouths aren’t moving –
whatever language they use it’s not the tongue’s.

Is he trying to let her down slowly while she
appeals to his conscience with troubling muteness?
Or is she turning her feelings from him
while he pleads silently with arresting eyes
for a second chance with her, which thus stirs a conflict
in her tangled feelings? Has he been disloyal?
Or is there an excuse in my following pun:
there’s something more in this long pregnant pause?

As their bus pulls up, they slow-motion to it
and alight like lost love, and I know I’ll not solve
the clues to their crisis, the time I’ve invested,
the thoughts I’ve commissioned to be interested,
my mind’s curiosity stalled unrequited.

Alan Morrison

If you've any comment on his poem, Alan Morrison would be pleased to hear from you.