the french have several words for it
Coming home to find the removal vans
provided its own theatre,
and a curious sense of
Large things had mainly been loaded;
but I was in time
to stand in the wings with you
the smaller props of our everyday,
paraded before us and loaded into the backs
of different lorries
pointing in different directions;
to see them stowed by others
in the interstices of a dividing life.
Having known it was going to happen
did not seem to help us then,
sharing our own private
mauvais quart d’heure.
We stood frozen against a moving backdrop
of men in overalls carrying
The tailgates slammed up on our life together.
One of those final sounds
like a firing squad or a tree falling.
It was only later in afterthought,
an esprit d’éscalier,
that I wish I’d said
“I love you”.
The French have several words for it.
© James Nash
[Deadly Sensitive, Grassroots Press, September 1999]
A recording of this poem with musical accompaniment by Kenny Jenkins from my CD Some Notes of Your Music is featured in December 2008 show of the James Nash Podcast.