Sketch of Lovers

by Luke Otley

The pram gets pushed
with one hand,
the hand lifts off the bar
and the middle finger curls out
like larva; muted, earless,
yet risen to the sound
of a horn wailing.

She didn’t see him;
Asshole better watchwherehe’sgoin.

1 new message: Mike
babe I want u now.

Flash of once-white teeth,
small, rodent-like.
Her ass is still good
in these leggings,
the cheeks pump like plum flesh,
good and sweet
up the street.

The pram makes a noise of want,
Shh baybay, she addresses
her palm.

Send message Mike: emoji.
The template suggests she’s playful
and ready.

Mike’s wits are blunteran
a drawer full of dull blades.
He drinks up his pay day
and chokes smoke down to the butt
and feels good to rave
at the way that politicians act smug.
Mike reads a paper
written by Masters of Journalism;
they adhere to House Style
but he knows that they get him.
They know he likes tits
and they know he hates change
and they know he ain’t scared
but full of unexplained rage.

1 new message: Lucy.

The emoji she sent excites his blood
in a dim and honest way.
Mike jingles shrapnel
in his pocket and moves towards the toilets
smiling, smiling.