The First Time After by Simon Williams


A chance encounter
The first after our split
My words tasted strange in my mouth and
My body language became foreign to me
There may be etiquette to follow
When broken lovers meet
But I have never learned it and
You seemed no more at ease
You asked how I was keeping
I said that I was ok
You said that you were ok too
Then asked after my cat
and I after your evening classes
Both of which it turned out were ok
I said that I was surprised to meet you in the library
You offered college work by way of explanation
Said that you were not in the least surprised to see me there
You said it with a smile but
You’d always treated books as rivals
As though they competed with you for my attention
You were you said keeping busy
I admitted to doing this and that
Then you said that it was good to see me again
Confused I examined the statement carefully
Checking it for tricks or booby traps
Before finally admitting
That it was good to see you too
My hesitation was fatal
In a flurry of excuses you fled to Reference Only
Leaving me perplexed and sad in Fiction P to S
At home later that evening I replayed the scene in my head
Call me I said, I miss you and I’m lonely
And in my imagination you came