– illustration by India Hibbs
A grate slides across to nothing but a pair of eyes,
and with that lilt, which sometimes catches me
off guard, you say the word, you squeeze my hand,
we laugh nervously as the door swings open.
Maybe we could hear the music before, it’s hard
to remember; the sound is silky and I want to reach
out my hands to feel the fabric, like I do in expensive
shops, knowing it can never be mine.
A man is playing the saxophone in the corner; a liquid
noise cascading amongst the hushed voices –
as though everyone is whispering secrets
or admitting terrible things.
A man in a brown suit is sitting at the bar with
a small trumpet in his hands, but he never plays.
The barman moves precisely, ruling the world –
I imagine that he knows everything and is a god.
We take a seat on red velvet under red lights,
scarlet tones brushed on our cheeks. I speak:
We always end up in bars with red lights,
but it never feels seedy and always feels nice.
We are in a place where it feels like words
can never leave and will stay contained forever
amongst the red glow, flowing easily, prettily,
from mind to mouth, we speak freely.
We speak about our parents, the pieces of them we’d like to keep,
to live by when we’re older, better, all grown up.
We speak about people who are gone and won’t be coming back,
and how that makes life feel.
We are just the two in the corner:
drinking drinks we can’t afford.
Izzy Wauchope finished her English Literature BA last year and is currently studying on the Creative Writing MA at Newcastle University. She has had her poetry published in two anthologies, ‘Ten of the Best’ and ‘Teen Poets: Immersed in Verse’.