Jennie Osborne

You Are

the one I didn’t quite meet ‒
my sandal broke and I missed the bus
you caught, the seat beside you overfilled
instead by someone’s granny, with more
bags and packages than she could carry.

Then the class at the City Lit ‒
you joined the term after I pulled out,
chose to learn Greek instead, ahead
of the trip to Corfu, same year that you
opted for Italy, or was it Crete?

And so neither of us made it to Venice,
to the room with blue shutters overlooking
the canal, a candle-dim trattoria where we shared
carbonara and dreamed up the cottage ‒
the cottage we never discovered

down a campion lane from a bird-white
village and a gull-stirred sea. So you
never taught me how to coax
a wood burner to flame. I didn’t show you
how to cook mackerel with gooseberries.

We didn’t sprawl on the saggy sofa
dissecting Plato or Bartok
with the help of Leonard Cohen
or tumble back up the tipsy path
from a smoked and pickled pub.

But one day, I’ll be sitting in a seafront café
with white walls and colourist paintings
watching waves repeating their story ‒
you’ll bend over, ask if there’s space
at my table, and I’ll know. I’ll know.

JENNIE OSBORNE is co- organiser of Teignmouth Poetry Festival, gives workshops and readings and teaches for the Poetry School
in Exeter. Her latest book is ‘Colouring Outside the Lines’