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I'd So Much Rather

Carole Satyamurti

be eating this tarte tatin

than be her

with her Audrey Tatou eyes that might

crinkle into tears or smiles

but don't quite, as she stares

intense, almost wordless


at him

shuffling on his chair, out-gazed,

chain-lighting Gitanes,

forced by embarrassment

into broken sentences

in this encounter on the edge of being

the end or perhaps the start of something –


the station buffet greasy

with hundreds of past


that for this woman, who's been here before,

for this man,

reduce to a worn half dozen possible

highs, troughs, bunglings of love,

inescapable scripts of themselves


that surely, though, could be a rewrite this time

as, now, he rests his hand on the table,

as she strokes it lightly, slowly,

as his feet, invisible to her,

say it all.


I really would.


From The French Literary Review No 9 (April 2008)