I would have eavesdropped

For she had an interesting face
Which seemed very beautiful,
Clean, denuded of all make-up and artifice,
And I like to listen in.
She had already ordered her drink
By the time I took my place at the bar
Pen in hand
Waiting for something interesting to happen,
So I did not hear her voice
And I cannot be sure if it was rich and mellow
Or sharp and demanding,
Or both: caramel pricked with salt.
When he joined her,
He opened the door
Hell’s summer breeze swept in,
Bringing the dust and sweat and fatigue
We had all been trying to escape.
He mimed the pouring of a beer,
And laid a twenty on the sticky bench.
The barmaid brought the frosted foam, and
With one hand wrapped round the glass
He downed it then
Raised his index finger
For another. 
And then sat down.
For a while, he did not look at her
And she not at him;
He sipped his second beer
While she took sad stabs at her ice.
Eventually, she tipped her head towards him,
Touching his shoulder with her cheek once
Before turning to face him with a wry and twisted face;
She gathered up her bag and from her wallet
Placed another twenty on the bar
With a nod to the barmaid.
She sat a moment longer on the stool.
Before taking from her purse two gold rings
Which she placed for a moment
In front of him.
From where I sat, they did not seem that gold
Or that shiny
Until she put them on her left ring finger
After which they seemed like armour.
And so prepared,
She left the bar. 

I would have eavesdropped

For she had an interesting face
Which seemed very beautiful,
Clean, denuded of all make-up and artifice,
And I like to listen in.
But nobody said anything.

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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