Tonight, I tried to talk about life and death
in that semi-meaningful way,
eyebrows raised philosophically
without giving too much away.
I evaded deeper questions
by staring round the bar
at its cool Buddhas and Czech beer bottles,
its pseudo-spiritual, trendified blah.
And I remembered when I was twenty-seven,
in A Midsummer Night's Dream -
I played Helena in my spectacles,
my tights torn at both knees.
I remembered how I felt
speaking one soliloquy;
how everything became silent,
except for the wind in the trees,
as my lone voice spoke up
for a woman who'd not believe
she'd ever be the kind
men would desire and never leave.
For those minutes, I was the most myself
I've ever been; it was Helena and me
telling our story
into the Somerset breeze.
Back in the bar, I saw my friends'
faces craving love, just like me -
from boys or God, or even poems.
We talked about the smoking ban,
Then I ran and caught
the last bus home.