Sometimes I forget where I’ve left all the love

I’ve collected over the years.

I wake in a panic, desperate – thinking of all

the moments in which I could have let it go,

let it slip away unnoticed to be forgotten.

All of a sudden two little paws appear

kneading the fist I’ve clenched out of fear.

Two little eyes hidden in a soft furry face

peer up at me, expectant – love me?

Ah yes, there it is. Love.

Love isn’t the same.

Love isn’t the same

as cold fingers creeping

under the edge of your shirt

looking for warmth in a back alley behind a bar

half-smoked cigarettes dotting the ground

thrown down in the fog of smoke

when a craving for skin to skin contact

overpowers the lust for nicotine.

Love isn’t the same

as a body pressed against grimy brick

in the darkness

allowing foreign hands and tongues to explore

what once was sacred.

Love isn’t the same

as an empty bank account

overdrawn so a few more shots of vodka

could erase the taste of a stranger,

blur the image of them

into a watercolour painting in your mind

that looks more like the landscape

of your past

than like the face of a shadow

you’d stopped in the night to ask

“Will you love me?”

“Will you love me?”, you’d asked

with a kiss you’d try to rinse

from your memory

with mouthwash and tears

in the morning.

Love – it isn’t the same.