How they strut about, people in love,
how tall they grow, pleased with themselves, their hair, glossy, their skin shining.
They don’t remember who they have been.
How filmic they are just for this time.
How important they’ve become – secret, above the order of things, the dreary mundane. Every church bell ringing, a fresh sign.
How dull the lot that are not in love.
Their clothes shabby, their skin lustreless;
how clueless they are, hair a mess; how they trudge up and down streets in the rain,
remembering one kiss in a dark alley,
a touch in a changing-room, if lucky, a lovely wait for the phone to ring, maybe, baby.
The past with its rush of velvet, its secret hush
already miles away, dimming now, in the late day.
© Jackie Kay
from Darling, New & Selected Poems by Jackie Kay (Bloodaxe Books, 2007)
100 Prizes Poems: Twenty-five Years of the Forward Books (Faber & Faber, 2016)