She says, Dating only leads
to breakups or marriage
and you’re not fit for either.

She says, You’ve never inhaled a novel,
so you’ll never understand
why my mind stutters
whenever I go down stairs.

She says, You’ll never know why
I call you Old Sport after too much gin,
or why I am so sure
the meaning of life
is forty-two.

She says, I don’t understand
physics or Schrödinger.
I hate that sexist song you sing
on the Wednesday bus into town.

She says, Let go of my hand,
stop drinking my tea.
You could never meet my parents
with your pants slung that low.

He says nothing,
just spreads jam on the crust
of her last loaf of bread,
telling bad jokes
until he picks apart her frown
and the water in the kettle goes cold.

Ashleigh Mounser (New South Wales)

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