The candles, pushed firmly into dark green bottles
already coated with drips from other candles before,
Are lit. They glow, flame roses,
Partially illuminating the room.
They also heat the room, very slightly.

They stand, in their bottles, on the windowsill.
The single-paned window is shut but
cold air still leaks in.
Outside, a ragged lawn
And a black tree, silhouetted against
Oblongs of light from Georgian townhouses.
The tree is all but bare-
A heavy scrap of fabric is caught on a branch.
It has been there for months.

A couple sit on their bed, pinkcheeked,
Flame roses glowing beside them.
Their eyes are fixed on the scene outside-
The tree, the scrap, the night.

She’s been disappointed before

This time, the problem was that he
went off to Denmark and came back
with a girlfriend who said she was pregnant but
miscarried just before it started to show.

But of course he didn’t tell her any of this.
He didn’t tell her anything,
Just stopped coming by her desk,
Stopped asking her, casually and
always with other people from the office,
To come for a drink.

And what could she say to him?
She was just shy of having a claim.
Technically,’ she’d say to her friends, ‘technically
he hasn’t done anything wrong.’