Allan Lake: ‘I Shall Compare Her to …’

I Shall Compare Her to …

My neighbour is not quite invisible but
nondescript. Never meets my eyes,
appears to be unaware of them.
Goes about her benign business,
whatever that is. I’ve not known her
for most of a decade so she’s nameless.
I may have heard a name but
it wasn’t one that nested in memory.
Fair—as in blonde—but devoid
of defining features so remains a fog.
There, not there, everywhere, nowhere.
On cat feet with no sign of a pet.
Has spoken but I can’t recall voice.
May wear a hat on summer days
but it made no impression.
Make-up? Sense of style timeless
without seeming classic. Let’s just say,
she wears clothes. I would remember
if she walked naked in the garden.
I hear no music as I pass her door;
there is no icon or pot plant on her sill.
No chance that we shall love or lust
or bond to counter the winter chill.

Allan Lake


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