The one that got away

The story uncoils as soon as he enters
my office, slithers out of his hands
before he can even take a seat
in the chair. He is fishing for answers
but every throw of the line
flails at a wall of wind which fling
all his questions back. He chucks in everything
he can think of as bait.
He thinks he was a hard man,
but fair, and he think he told her
he loved her many times, and he tells me
that he had lots of opportunities
but was always faithful;
but he just doesn’t know.
The happiness of two young people
who were once deeply in love
shimmers beneath the surface
of the water, elusive. Both of his hands,
roughened by carting wood and metal,
were ready to haul in dreams
of laughing babies and a house paid off
and school holidays in Robe,
but nothing came within reach.
He is clenching and unclenching
his fists because being angry means
he won’t have to cry.
Yesterday he went around to collect
his things and found she had
piled everything in the rubbish
and that she had sold his fishing rod.

Other poems by Shen

The essence of colour

Knowing your place