“Last Time I Saw You”
You lived on Bank Street
third floor, top left –
I remember the door,
holding my breath,
as it opened
and you’d appear
with a book in your hand,
a cutting remark
on the tip of your tongue.
Naked one time;
from the water I could hear gurgling in the drain.
Your flatmate watching as I
slip awkwardly from your grasp,
face blank as stone
while we play stoner games
I keep winning;
laughing all the way back out your door.
Later you drag me to a café
with your new and far more suitable girlfriend.
She and I studiously avoid each other’s gaze
( thanking god for the hangers-on who are tripping balls, Man)
me, because she is so much prettier than I:
her, because she is so far above me
she might be riding on a cloud.
I watch her flawless mouth
sip bitter expresso,
marble with anxiety
over who will be next?
(You have already jokingly informed me
you are working very hard on one of her friends.)
The urge to gorge on the pain of others
flows strong along old Bavarian waterways.
The forests around familiar towns
are filling up with graves.
In another life
where painful truths
coexist with uneasy truce,
I tried to tell you, last time I saw you.
‘You frighten me,’
I said, (or words to that effect)
‘With your appetites and your disregard for the rest of the human race,’
but you just laughed and rolled over and went back to sleep
by: Jillian Joyce
Biography of the Author:
Jillian Joyce lives in Glasgow in Scotland which is always an interesting place to be. She has been writing for as long as she can remember – documenting, exaggerating and plain old fibbing (or fiction writing, as we call it) about her experiences on this far-flung little piece of the (current) UK. Her work has appeared in print and online magazines including Flashquake, Firstwriter and Cutting teeth and her poem ‘Remnants of a Catholic girlhood’ can be found in the 2016 GWL anthology ‘Mixing the Colours: women speaking about sectarianism’ .
see her work on WOMEN’S LIBRARY