Maren (2008)

Mick Imlah

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Links Off

You saw so much romance in competition,
like Atalanta before you – a daughter
of thick-witted Schoeness, a Boetian –
they said you’d marry anyone who beat you
in a footrace. Hence our peculiar courtship:

you, crowned once fastest girl over
three thousand metres in Lower Franconia,
myself the great Caledonian bore,
we took to jogging round the astroturf
of Wapping’s amenable sports arena.

Plainly, you could have romped ahead
at any point; instead, you made me lead,
woman after my own heart! – dropping
your courteous metres back, as if
feeling the pace, an arrangement

you gilded with ‘I can’t keep up
when you accelerate!’ So we complete
our sixth or seventh lap of the course;
and only when I flag, an end in view,
near to the bags and coats, do you appear

flush at my ear, demanding ‘more!’
Together, then, after our fashion:
exchanging oaths like old antagonists,
your Focke-Wulf tailing my Spit
into fresh air and another orbit.