An Approximation of Love

You could not even have seen me then,
I stood anonymised within a crowd,
but I could watch you there, leaning on the
shopfront, fingers around the edges of the paper, so

it’s headlines could be seen, you with others, talking.
I could not see you violent with those hands
that had wrapped around me, or even with the lips
that had said my name, then kissed me in the faint dark

of a summer evening, walking me home,
your protection offered, so enchanting
to someone who had never known a safe place.
There was not a chance though of recruiting me,

taking my thoughts somewhere else; they were already
formed. In language, I only wanted to sample affection,
the kind I had never heard at home, though
that evening in the dingy pub I was tongue-tied.

The touch of your hand, skin on skin, was the first balm
to the scars on my brain, unknown to me then.
I didn’t even ever buy the paper. Learning about words was
so much an approximation of love.