Monday, 5 September 2016


walking after you, across the way
towards the desks and do we have
do you have the money?
do we have money?
and this is how much?
did you give me the money?

I wanted to come out and here you are
walking away from me
I'm talking to you
give me it
like quicksilver it fell
all away
I don't know where
my hands, they held it, I don't know where
they're empty again

I need the money and you might as well
have dropped it for me
it's empty and under the desk
and I need it to pay for this
that we left the house for so
we could fill bags
like other people
who go shopping
like when I was little
and the play kitchen and the play shop and
the plastic fruit and all the little boxes
when I thought it would be like with dollies
with me the mummy and some
someone else as the daddy

and then we're in the outside
and it's cold and you stand there frowning
holding bags and standing next to
the bags I leave
as I go back in, back in again
because you forget everything
and my mind just won't do what
it was supposed to
because you forget everything
and if you hadn't waited
we wouldn't be here
at half eight at night
in the shop
when we could be at home

back into the bright, super-bright and full of watching
like people think they should watch me
and my face screwed up
to make me see
and I don't know I'm talking
talking still as if you hear
when I talk to hear me
and know if I am really here
in the shop
walking back across to the desks
and wondering if I left the bag
or not
or if I am standing outside
and it is you in here
without me.

I'm trying so hard goddammit.

I wrote this poem after seeing a young couple in the supermarket, They were trying to shop, and to act normally at the same time. They were both addicts and not sober, but trying hard to just be there, shopping. The man couldn't speak and the girl kept speaking to him, then for him, losing what she was saying. She ended up dropping the money he gave her and having it collected by the staff. Security went to look for the man when he disappeared and he had walked round the whole shop and was waiting outside for her. She managed to buy their shopping, then once outside she realised she had left some of it inside and needed to go back for it. Her despair was palpable as she retraced her steps, all the while talking to him, even though he was too far away to hear.

© Amanda J Harrington 2016

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