Published in ‘The North’ Issue 60, August 2018

When I say partner and you say friend

the first time, perhaps you’ve misheard,
so I say it again: She’s my partner.

This time you meet my eye:
Your friend. The stress insists

I’m a slow child and you know best.
And you do, then, for a moment

I’m suddenly twelve and alone
and so wrong I’ll be whoever

you like to make things right.
But I’m forty-five: a new song

sings in my bones. She’s my partner
and also, as it happens, my friend.
I smile.

You don’t know the words, do you,
but perhaps you can pick up the tune?