He gave it to me for my twenty-first,
Said it was his favourite shirt,
Barely released it from his grip like he couldn’t bear to part with it,
Kissed my forehead as he placed it in my hands, said ‘look after it,’
And I have.
I hardly wear it though.
Only sometimes on hungover Sundays.
I remember not wanting to wash it ‘cause it smelled like him.
And now it stays in a bottom drawer
All it taught me was who Hargreaves is.
He doesn’t even play for them anymore.
Somewhere on the other side of this town my rosary beads hang around his bedpost like a noose.
Back from when they were fashion accessories and I said if you’re going to use a religious artefact to emulate David Beckham it might as well be genuine.
I got them in Rome when I was eighteen.
Used them for penance after confession and my RE teacher asked me what I’d done to warrant so many Hail Marys.
I said ‘that’s between me and the priest…
And the big man upstairs if he’s listening’
They used to smell of rose,
But after years of hanging from his open window the breeze took away their scent.
He’s always been careless.
Like when he fragmented me into pieces,
He didn’t even know what he was doing.
I don’t know if that makes it better or worse.
I just know it hurt.
You sit opposite me with a glint in your eye and a Stamford Press,
And I think maybe some things do change.
You never used to stray from Kronie.
And the hours pass like seconds.
Time always runs away from us,
Slips through our fingers,
Been nearly six years now.
I still remember the first time I saw you.
Wearing a beanie hat and a cocky smile and I knew you’d be important.
I don’t know how.
You had longer hair back then,
And I had a heart that was still in tact that didn’t understand what it was to love someone who didn’t love it back.
You’re talking about a girl you met last week.
I ask her name, if you’re going to marry her and if I need to make some life changes.
I’m only half joking.
‘Flora. Yes. Yes.’
Ask if I’ve met any more hipster wankers in Shoreditch.
I say ‘‘course I have’,
Produce streams of pictures of men with beards and shit tattoos, all of whom don’t mean a thing.
You say it doesn’t matter who it is you’ll hate whoever I’m with.
You’re only half joking.
You see we don’t live in each other’s pockets.
Just line them like forgotten coppers,
I still wonder some days if either of us will ever be enough to make up the change.
My parents ask after you on Sundays.
Casual enquiries over the gravy,
And I starve myself of you for weeks until I can’t bear it.
Too proud to show I care anymore, still we down jagers on dancefloors, live by the night, carry on regardless,
My heart is a tardis,
A whole lot bigger than I’d ever let you see.
These memories hold too many colours.
If I could, I would dilute them to neutral, spin them in to circles,
Wrap you up in them.
But I can’t.
So I’d rather keep you in a bottom drawer with that United shirt of yours.
Wear you a handful of times a year just show you I still can.
I’d rather hang like a noose from your bedpost,
Blow in the breeze of your window,
Watching them come and go.