The Reluctant Bride and Groom
He waited all summer for some other glittering girl
to catch his mate’s attention,
then sidled up in tatty teddy boy jacket,
stuttered as if asking a girl out for the first time.
She accepted the date that kept her in the friend’s eye line.
Knocking for him, she negotiated the shop’s
furniture thicket, lichen streaking her summer coat.
Gagging at fry-ups ossified on Georgian tables,
she declined father’s tipsy gesture towards stained tea pot,
tried to engage mother turned to stone by a gorgon disease,
whilst her date in peep toed socks,
shamefully scooped out sandwich remains from a shoe,
her need to laugh suppressed like a fart.
But after too many Saturday evenings
listening to the Light Programme,
when he suggested ‘Dreamland’ the following Saturday
she agreed with wallflower relief.
Weekends became football socials, cricket club tea rotas…
Friends catching marriage like measles urged ‘Your turn next’
however eyes were avoided, subject changed.
Finally his mumbled ‘I suppose we’d better get hitched’,
her mother’s counsel over cocoa,
You’re nearly 30; you’ll be left on the shelf.
Her shrugged ‘Alright then’ produced a second hand ring.
A year’s tearful I don’t love him to parents who reacted
as if cancelling a wedding was like recalling a launched invasion.
May afternoon she found herself conveyed in a car
that seemed to fly at a whip-cracked pace to the church,
where she spotted her bridegroom’s panting arrival
after a cartoon sprint across fields,
chanted to herself the inverted vows I don’t, I don’t,I don’t.

Fiona Sinclair

If you have any comments on this poem, Fiona Sinclair would be pleased to hear from you.