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Why I Left You

Why I Left You

When you had quite finished
dragging me across your bed
like a band of swaggering late-night removal men
dragging a piano
the size and shape of the United States of America
across a tent,
I left the room,
and slipped into the garden,
where I gulped down whole mouthfuls of delicious aeroplanes
that taxied down my throat
still wrapped in sky
with rows of naked women in their bellies
telling me to go,
and I went,
and that’s why I did it,
and everything told me so –
tracks that I knew the meaning of
like the tracks of a wolf
wolf-hunters know the exact colour of
by the tracks of the tracks alone.
You get a feeling for it.
You stand in the garden at night
with blood getting crisp on your thighs
and feel the stars spiralling right down
out of the sky into your ears
like drip-fed needles
saying Get out. Now.
By ‘you’ I mean me.
One of us had to:
I did.


first published in Violet (Bloodaxe, 1997), © Selima Hill 1997, from Gloria (Bloodaxe, 2008), used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Selima Hill Reading from Her Poems

1Introduction

2Why I Left You

3Please Can I Have a Man

4Your Girlfriend's Thigh

5Her Little Turquoise Scarf

6Her Little Turquoise Dress

7Her Little Turquoise Breasts

8A Day in the Life of Your Suitcase

9I Know I Ought to Love You

10The World's Entire Wasp Population

11The Man Who Looks for Waterfalls

12When He Follows Me into the Café Looking Nervous

13The Waterfall Man

14I Will Be Arriving Next Thursday in My Wedding Dress

15Fun

16Tulips

17Vaseline

18Moon

19Stars

20Songbirds

21Budgie

22Galloping Alopecia

23The Room

24The Angel with Large Hands

25Sky

26Portrait of My Lover as a Distant Mountain

27Portrait of My Lover as a Doll

28Portrait of My Lover as a Dress

29Portrait of My Lover as a Flower Arrangement

30Portrait of My Lover as a Glass of Water

31Portrait of My Lover as a Goose

32Portrait of My Lover as a Holy Mother

33Portrait of My Lover as a Hook

34Portrait of My Lover's Mouth

35Portrait of My Lover as a Pearl

36Portrait of My Lover as a Tutu

37Portrait of My Lover as a Spoon

38I Couldn't Stand the Smell of the Pinks

39Modest Acts of Extreme Slowness

40Sixteen Reasons for Being a Nun

41Snow-white Katarinas

42The Elephant Whose Sturgeon-like Blood

43Nasty Little Moments on Park Benches

44Everything He Touches Turns to Gold

45The Most Beautiful Woman in the History of Lawn Tennis

46Living, Breathing Lumbar Rolls and Wedges

47Flank-Sucker

48Lily Bulbs

49Midnight

50Never Trust a Man Without an Elephant

51Never Be Alone in a Heatwave

52The Quality of My Adoration

53God Bless Lower Alcohol Pina Colada