How many lines have we lost
in glasses of milk, bums needing wiping,
the wrong amount of rice bubbles,
concentric circles of no/but/no?
How many plots disappeared
by a dream interrupted:
doors opening tearfully on a nightmare,
or just a plastic superhero going off
Couplings of words smear
into tired crumbs on the bench,
tangle up with the holy business of getting
out the door with shoes on right feet.
I could have scored out an improbable
or something magnum opus by now,
seen the initial spine of my language
on a bookshop shelf.
But here in the half-dark
I can trace the curve of your cheek
(still babyish) in less than a minute,
and every night it looks
nothing like failure, or regret.