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Shirley Baker
The Gloves

‘I can only stay a little while’
She said. peeling off her gloves
And sitting down –
                 reluctantly it seemed to me.

Refused an offered cup of tea
Then changed her mind
Feeling she was too unkind.

We spoke of this and that
Her eyes flicking towards the window
Her thoughts not with me.

Could she not see how I longed for company?
Listening to her every word,
Absurd, yet desperate for contact.

‘Must go!’ she said,
                     her tea half drunk
Now cold and old within the cup,
She left, her footsteps sounding hollow
                                up the hall.

I closed the door
              and wandered back
To my lonely room
But there – on a chair

I saw the gloves – oh joy!
I laid their suede coolness
Against my cheek

And caught a hint of attar of roses,
I would be seeing her again
Any moment now –
                      she would return.