you were late
but you ate the cactus
copied my beer order
complemented my dress
with that watch
while I held up my fingers
calculated the distance
between this moment and
your hand between my thighs
how many revelations
your new apartment
your new haircut
your new
before we see each other
two rising actions
meeting in our middles
for our climax
you will hold my hand
ask me about plans
slip off the articles of camaraderie
a scarf
a shoe
a lie
and get comfort
able bodied and blushing
when you asked
asked what I wanted first,
and I hesitated.
that hesitation,
one toe in cold water
wanting to say “you”
wanting to say you
to say:

 “My head and your shoulder and a train and sun flickering and eyes shut and body shuddering and hand cupping my cheek to say, ‘here I am, and here and here and here.’”

but saying, “I want you to see this,”
and pulling curtains to present
my magenta thong.
you’re so pleased; I wish it were something I’d created,
something we could hang on white walls and admire
but it is what it is,
and what it is is an ass
that you’ve decided you love.
sometimes text “I love your ass”
hold up one finger to the screen
see what I want to see
and I want to see you all the time
but now, here we are reproduced in double
doubled over on hapless hotel mirror
leaning against the wall
and you say, “tell me what you want”
and I can only think of trains.


Art by Hannah Presdee

Hannah Presdee is a London and Portsmouth based illustrator and designer who specialises in whimsical, colourful, typographic designs that help bring fun to any story. Instagram: @hannahpresdee |

Shea Stripling is: the author of No One Will Ever Believe You: Poems About Bill Murray (Hypertrophic Press),  a former marching band member, and a permanent fixture in the middle seat of the plane.