Please Can I Have a Man


Please can I have a man who wears corduroy.
Please can I have a man
who knows the names of 100 different roses;
who doesn’t mind my absent-minded rabbits
wandering in and out
as if they own the place,
who makes me creamy curries from fresh lemon-grass,
who walks like Belmondo in A Bout de Souffle;
who sticks all my carefully selected postcards –
sent from exotic cities
he doesn’t expect to come with me to,
but would if I asked, which I will do
with nobody else’s, up on his bedroom wall,
starting with Ivy, the Famous Diving Pig,
whose picture, in action, I bought ten copies of;
who talks like Belmondo too, with lips as smooth
and tightly packed as chocolate-coated
(melting chocolate) peony buds;
who knows that piling himself stubbornly on top of me
like a duvet stuffed with library books and shopping-bags
is all too easy: please can I have a man
who is not prepared to do that.
Who is not prepared to say I’m pretty either.
Who, when I come trotting in from the bathroom
like a squealing freshly scrubbed piglet
that likes nothing better than a binge
of being affectionate and undisciplined and uncomplicated,
opens his arms like a trough for me to dive into.

first published in Violet (Bloodaxe, 1997), Selima Hill 1997, from Gloria (Bloodaxe, 2008), used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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