LUNCH POEMS – THEA AYRES & EMILY PRITCHARD
I look okay
as a reflection.
I look my best
I sometimes pass
if no one
looks too closely.
If I smile for the camera,
my stubble stands on end.
I feel the most
like myself when I use
my customer service voice.
The people who’ve known me longest
know me least.
It’s all in the timing: removing
my helmet as they cycle by
so they’ll catch me or catch my eye,
or greeting with the absence of a smile –
that certain look, not quite a nod
but of it. Today we eat falafel,
walk through rain, take
selfies beneath a board that says
Here Today Here Tomorrow
and we rhyme ourselves with it,
frame ourselves in shop windows,
layered over mannequins.
We know which surfaces reflect us
best and when it’s time
to leave a place. We’re good at passing
interactions. When we pass a group of men,
it’s like the bridge in Spirited Away –
if we breathe we will be seen.
Can they see us now or now
or if I take your hand?
I don’t want to take your photograph.
I want to give it