Leaving, by William Bowden

the cramped hall is a meter wide,
dark because the bulb is out,
outside, night is coasting in,
percolating in thick-set clouds,
cumulonimbus or nimbostratus maybe,
my laces implore me to stay,
my hands, pale and senseless,
fumble blindly with aglets
that won’t tie in a knot, or
remain tied in a knot,
outside, an awful green glow
like night vision, or
the colour of being seasick
is circling the streets, although,
I’ve never been seasick, I’ve seen
humpback whales from boats
up-coast from Mousehole,
and after I’ve kissed your forehead,
your eyes pearled or bedewed, I think,
like wet pebbles of green sea glass,
and after I’ve kissed my son goodbye,
hugged him tightly in that arctic silence,
hoping to signal anguish by osmosis,
I crack the door.
In truth,
when I kissed you,
I could smell the traces of alcohol,
and the clouds are hulking and grey and rolling
in from the East or the North,
I point them out to you and say,
‘doesn’t look so good’,
and my finger trembles, barely perceptible,
your black eyelashes wet,
like you’d been playing in the rain again.


Published 25th of September 2022


About William Bowden

William Bowden is 22 years old and currently work in London. Having completed an Ba(Hons) at the University of Exeter, William will shortly be starting a MA in English at UCL. Previously published poems appear in the Canon’s Mouth Magazine, The Phare Magazine, and the Crank magazine.