Tacoma Callum

for Neil's new love

A shadow of Washington State on her forearm;
a bruise from her storm after the calm.

His name was probably Callum or Luke,
or something equally as annoying, and
in his canon of hugs and kisses
was a battalion of punches and verbal threats sent forth and forward
when he was pigeon in the park, unpredictably drunk.

But when they were out nobody knew of their
war on the home front, because for the punters of that Italian bistro,
that one in the centre of town,
they put on a Louis d’Or worthy show so no one would suspect;
conversations of extended families got tangled up in their spaghetti,
linguini lines of work schedules and when-will-you-be-homes were twisted around their forks.
And his knife tried to cut the tension.
And hers spread something, anything, over the wounds and bruises,
reaching for her cardigan sleeve to hide the Tacoma light rail
lines of ruptured vessels that made up her Washington State bruise
he had given her hours before in the upstairs, never-going-to-be-a-family bathroom.