by Anna Kahn
I’ve a cardigan somewhere but I root
for the pashmina in my bag because I
want to be touchable. Once it’s around
my shoulders she readjusts it, smoothing
the wrinkles in the fabric over my arms.
She leaves a thumb behind to trace and
trace my nape. Each swipe is a blessing
flowing around my clavicles and down
until everything inside the pashmina glows.
As the air cools further I undo her work
to tuck my legs up. I settle. She starts again.
(Different she, same pashmina.)
We ignore our reservations
and snag table seats. She puts
her head on her scarf on the table.
is inadequate. She
asks if I’m using mine.
I pass it over. She tucks it
under her cheek. I only realise
the intimacy when she says, mmm,
this smells so nice. She sleeps almost
to Leeds breathing my cologne. I practise
looking away. The moment she’s up I rehang the pashmina around my neck
and encourage her to finish the punnet of cherries I opened in her absence.
(Not a she, no pashmina.)
He’s the kind of fragile people ache to fall in love with because the surface
vulnerability looks so much like a shortcut to all of his secrets. They can
taste the fantasy satisfaction of fixing him even though they’ve never fixed
anything but he’s the one, they just know, he’s so fragile, they’d protect him.
Anna Kahn is a queer, big-hearted, cheeky grumpy fireball. She’s a member of the Roundhouse Collective and is enjoying her second year as a Barbican Young Poet. She’s performed all over the UK and her poetry has been published in print and online. She lives with two cats and one human, and has almost definitely never seen your favourite film.