Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Something that smells like the air in silver boxes

The Answer

Why do you give the impression that you'd rather
not be loved? You almost tell people not to bother.
Why are you neither one thing nor the other?

Why do you fluctuate between ticks and crosses,
alternate between flippancy and neurosis?
Won't you confirm or contradict my guesses?

What is it that you do, by simply sitting
with your elbows raised, that makes me sick of waiting?
Why is your absence tantamount to cheating?

I know you're real, which means  you must pay taxes,
catch colds and snore. I know you know what sex is.
Still, there is something in you that never mixes,

something that smells like the air in silver boxes.

It makes me suddenly afraid of asking,
suddenly sure of all the things I'm risking.

Page 32, 'The Hero and the Girl Next Door', Sophie Hannah

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