We went to see The English Patient because I fancied Ralph Fiennes.
Not long after you bought me a copy of Herodotus;
establishing and mocking us, it smelt of age and charity shops.
I never tucked special things in it though; I had my shoeboxes.
Your college room was snug. Mine was big and square, but cold.
Your sloping ceilings and skylight were cupped hands round butterflies;
the small sill deep enough for the jelly bowl, while it set,
by your Dennis Bergkamp mug that had lost its handle.
We took pictures of each other pulling faces – I had never done that,
dismantled my best smile, crossed my eyes, poked out my tongue.
You cut yourself shaving – a photo of blood cutting through foam,
a crimson fork jagged in a white sky.
We made each other laugh; you wore a dress at my girls’ tea party,
I wore long skirts with no knickers while we did laundry together.
I loved your places. Your parents’ house, your bedroom,
your horrible home town. So I made them mine.
Commended, The Ver Prize 2016