I Owe You Dinner by Katherine MW

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I Owe You Dinner

You cooked for me and now I can’t remember what we ate.

I met your family, you don’t like them much

they seem amused by me, cynical maybe

are they smirking at me? Do they 

think this looks

like a date?

I can’t let myself think they suspect you like me

not when I’ve been aching for signs but maybe you inviting me 

is you trying to highlight this tension between us;

trying to say, if it feels like a date then maybe

it should be one?

Do they know how nervous I am, how aware I am of your hands?

As you set me to chopping, I steal glances at your back

while you cook, dropping my gaze to the table when you turn

mid-sentence, grabbing ingredients, pulling out pots and pans.

I cut my finger and wince, it’s not bad just a scratch 

I stand up to walk over and run it under the tap

but you’ve crossed the floor and before I can catch my breath

you’re holding my hand.

Your fingers lightly gently lift mine to the light

and I see nothing else at all.

Your sister walks in.

You return to your post by the oven and start to boast

about something to do with school, make some kind of joke.

She raises her eyebrows to you and takes a slow side glance at me.

I’ve not been able to hear since you dropped my hand. 

She leans on the counter you lean over

two silhouettes projected out into the garden, into the night

from this brightly lit kitchen.

There is a roaring in my ears 

the water rushes from the tap.

I see your shoulders push back, dusting me off

brushing off everything we never asked 

nothing to see here

nothing to say.

If the spell was never cast

there is nothing to break.

Katherine MW

Katherine is an aspiring writer living with chronic illness who moved from the south coast to York three years ago and still hasn’t got used to the weather. She is currently on leave from an undergraduate degree and spends her free time volunteering for feminist campaigns and daydreaming about the perfect vegan flaky pastry. She posts new poetry on her blog. : violet-crimes.tumblr.com