Perfection Isn’t Like A Perfect Story


I think often of the time I was perfectly happy.
And sat by the harbour reading a borrowed Cavafy.
You were with me of course and the night before we
Played bar billiards, green under lights, in the cafe
Postponing our first shared bedtime and every ball
That didn’t come back made us look at each other and down.
I collected the key and we crossed the late night hall
And seeing the room you cried, it was so small.

We were too close. We bore each other down.
I changed the room and we found that you were ill.
Nothing was perfect, or as it should have been.
I lay by your side and watched the green of dawn
Climb over our bodies and bring out of darkness the one
Perfect face that made nothing else matter at all.

from Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2001), copyright © P J Kavanagh 2001, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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