Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

Respectable Infidelities

by Elaine Holmes

Folded note,
Joyously, guiltily scrawled number,
A reminder of a stolen weekend
Creased in the folds of your briefcase.
 
The faint smell of smoke
Lingering, seeping from sweat filled pores
A melting pot of travelling
Cheap perfume, stale spices
 
Phone conversations in muted tones.
Strains of edginess, of lust,
Irritation biting at the edge
Courting discovery
 
I didn’t challenge you,
I never do these days.
I played along with your pretence,
You built upon my insecurities.
 
I used to hurt, each faithless act,
Each little piece of infidelity,
Twisting the knife a little harder.
Imagination crowning my craziness!
 
Now it amuses me, your oh so secret life,
The panic to erase the texts and emails,
The discarded papers,
Details of hotel rooms booked for two. 
 
I wonder if you notice my suitcase
Half hidden behind the door?
Retaliation?
Why stoop to emulate a worm?

Added: 26.03.2011

Judges' comments on this poem

05.05.2011

Powerful; I love the twist. You made the infidelities seem also acceptable and then plunged in with retaliation. Wonderful.

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