You paused for a moment and I heard you smoking
On the other end of the line.
I pictured your expression,
One eye screwed shut against the smoke
As you waited for my reaction.
I was waiting for it myself, a list of my own news
Gone suddenly cold in my hand.
Supposing my wife found out, what would happen then?
Would I have to leave her and marry you now?
Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad,
Starting again with someone new, finding a new place,
Pretending the best was yet to come.
It might even be fun,
Playing the family man, walking around in the park
Full of righteous indignation.
But no, I couldn’t go through all that again,
Not without my own wife being there,
Not without her getting cross about everything.
Perhaps she wouldn’t mind about the baby,
Then we could buy a house in the country
And all move in together.
That sounded like a better idea.
Now that I’d been caught at last, a wave of relief
Swept over me. I was just considering
A shed in the garden with a radio and a day bed,
When I remembered I hadn’t seen you for over a year.
“Congratulations,” I said. “When’s it due?”