Words at dinner time By candlelight we dine At home. The conversation unfurls As if once held in your napkin, Each word twisting and turning in your fingers Before we set it free, on laughter ascending. One word, love, roams unchained Enchanting Seductive Attentive. While others fall upon the table Like screwed up balls of paper, Boisterous remarks, Of bold upper case. Dew runs gently down The jug of ice-cold water Towards the tablecloth Now tired and slightly creased. We drink from glasses half-full While shadows in the garden lengthen, And lean in To hear secrets told To each other Us No other. To hold forever. But sometimes it is plenty To sit and let this moment be To let it envelope you and me. Unaccompanied by words. Neatly folded In your lap And mine. V-neck jumper I only went in for a V-neck jumper. Black, nothing fancy, just for work you understand. I climbed the steps to menswear, The anticipated simplicity of my task soon melting in the white light. I thumbed among the clothes rails like a lovelorn teenager fingering vinyl And coveted forbidden shelves like a young man on his first, furtive visit to Boots. I stared at folded garments hoping they would speak their size and price of their own accord. I outfoxed attendant attentions with footwork I thought I had long forgotten on the dance-floor. But to no avail. The pressure grew and the heat intensified Until even I thought I recognised myself in the floor-length mirror From the front of the Evening News, As a shoplifter or pixelated gangster. But you try and find a V-neck jumper. Black, nothing fancy, just for work you understand ‘That’s right son, I’ve heard it all before’ I imagined they’d say down the station. There were round-necks and polo-necks and ones with collars like Elizabethan ruffs. Buttoned-up, zipped-up, full-length, half-length, Plus one that went below the knee – Surely misplaced from womenswear? Striped, piped, checked, loud, pastel, Excess XS, a helluva lot of XL. ‘It’s all out on the floor’ they said. And some frayed at the edges Apparently they’re ‘in.’ If only it was still last season I mumble as I head towards the Sale rail. I stepped outside into the dark My stomach empty And the walk home longer than ever I remember. What you bought she asked? As I dropped my bags at her feet. Not a v-neck jumper that’s for sure.