Asher D

This winter it's a Mexican restaurant.
Chicken shops for the posh.

Hands in jacket pockets
avoid eye contact with,

men in
the place they've gone
to become forgotten.

Chasing advertisements
that promise touch.
Open arms/,Doors.
hoping you're behind them.

You wore a denim dress.
closer to waist
than knees.
blonde hair
tanned skin
high heels

From the other side of the street
You were more than a walk away.
You were an audi TT,
New Nike air max
You were over ten pounds credit away.

For a bit.

Jade was like "You know what,
you could get her number"
I was like "Nahhhhhh.
she's too buff"
Jade was like "No Sean
you're a cool guy
You should try-
Tell her a joke
You're proper funny"
I was like "ah man"
He was like "Seriously Sean"
I was like "thanks Jade"

I walked, hand as a visor
Sun bounced off a puddle
hit my eyes.

for a moment
you disappeared
in the sunlight.

I got
Next to, hesitant.
Asked how you were
What you were up to.
What you like to do.

I received eyes
trying to read mine.

and then you clocked.
I was trying to chat you up
And you started

It was a- hold-on-to-stomach,
other hand grabs wall to balance
stop to breathe
look at me
carry on laughing

I see Jade across the road
and he's giving the thumbs up.

I look at him like
"not so much"

I called him over
and we all introduced
ourselves to each other.

numbers weren't exchanged
you dealt with different numbers.
numbers that came with change

You showed us plain clothes police cars
Told us what the word "model" round here means
and how, for an hour, everyone's work stops
when the nearby primary school bells ring..

I was seventeen.

That summer it was a knocking shop.

We waved goodbye
walking away,
saying- she's safe
Like, she's prober buff-
but she could be a mate.

The Red Light District had a face.

The face now has a smile
and is offering me
a free Nacho.

Gracias Muchos
Hands tucked
into jacket pockets

Wading through
a decadence of dead ends,
now mixed with black shop fronts
boasting different coffee blends.
This is twenty fourth winter.
Seventh since the summer we met.
every time I walk past, I search.

Wondering if I'll see you the way I did
before the puddle's sunlight hit my eyes.

When you were a Audi TT
When you were always-white Air Max
When you were a dream.
When you were something I could pay
to have.

but I listened to what you said
and the laughter is always louder than the dress.
laughing right in front of all these men
all these men walking up those steps
turning deaf.