—There’s something not-quite-right about you, he said.
—There’s something not-quite-right about the way
you stand beside me, close enough to touch me.
I’m handsome. I know how to be gentle.
When I saw you crossing this way
I watched you cross over
straight to the spot, and stand beside me.
Foreplay to a handwashing—
the way you play with your drink,
smoothing droplets into the palm of your hand with your thumb;
with your thumb you smooth down hairs on the back of your hand.
If you know the song that’s playing, you don’t show it.
I’m careful. I know how to be lonely.
When I saw you cross over that way
I couldn’t see you, couldn’t stand the sight of you.
There’s something—something not-quite-right
in the thing you’re almost about to tell me,
what only a stranger makes safe.
You stand beside me, close enough
to tell me what no one else can hear;
I’ll bend to you halfway.