For his birthday he wants an owl’s hoot,
the glimpse of fox, russet in russet
undergrowth, a tricky gift to give.
She desires an oak apple necklace,
the holes for string already burrowed
through one side of each borrowed bud.
No gold, no cars on hire purchase, no roses
on pillows but the warmth of living fur
against her cheek, the shew her cat carried
gently by mouth over park & road
to place, intact, at her feet. He wishes
for candlelight where flames weave stories,
her arm around his back, pressing
with the safety of substantiality. He wants
to sketch her when she flicks black wings
of eyeliner, wishing – not for the first time –
he were her. She needs his morning racket
guaranteed: clattering dishes as he whistles
with the robin. If not this, then nothing.