In the shadow of the bridge, a white café opened
its arms, welcomed me inside, to where she stood,
cool, preparing green tea. Fingers dancing like a musician,
she chopped lines of leaves, like the careful lines
orbiting her eyes. In a slouchy blue sweatshirt,
her grey-flecked hair casually tied, her practised hands
ritualised the mundane. As she passed me the cup,
with a slow, unbuttoning smile, I wanted to beg her
to sail away with me across the bay’s smashed-glass dazzle,
but my life was waiting in the cab outside,
and I could hear the meter ticking.
Oz Hardwick is a York-based poet, photographer, and academic. His latest poetry collection is The Ringmaster’s Apprentice (Valley Press, 2014), and he is co-author, with Amina Alyal, of the Saboteur-shortlisted Close as Second Skins (IDP, 2015). He has delusions of musical competence, and his one regret is that he is not Belgian. His website can be found here.