I'm thinking of Andrea McLean — I cried when she left Loose Women, how openly she spoke of loneliness

in a marriage. My thoughts turn to our beach wedding: you and me, and
an expenses spreadsheet.

We wore Hawaiian leis. Auntie Anne watched the DVD, said it was like 'An Officer and a Gentleman'.

I remember you covered my mouth when I came.

I'm in a poetry workshop with Jack Underwood: patterns in language —the tyranny of the habitual, how

dull it can be, our tendency to talk of a line of trees. I think of the quote from Gibran about the cypress and

the oak, failing to grow in each other's shadow; and of the scold's bridle to tame women. Since I told

you I don't love you anymore, you've taken up gardening. My birth flower is a pink rose —

for happiness.

I'm on the phone to Dad before Corrie. He says the affair between Alina and Tyrone is ridiculous —

when she says let me show you how much I love you. As if it's that

I say, 'I'll let you get back to your Corrie'. And wonder why you encouraged me to debate at Oxford

but not to speak up about day-to-day stuff. I recall you say: he's from a different culture, had a difficult

childhood. You remind me of what Granny Corrin used to say: don't shit in your own nest.

And I think of the witch's bridle — a cage for the head — to silence women.

But then there's you, G. — our WhatsApp routine — the joking about my Couch to 5K, on the

bridleway. You're imagining runaway brides in wedding gowns and I'm telling you how freely the

horses stomp about. Unrestrained, uncontainable. And I think of TV's Miranda, how she says women

should make galloping a thing, should gallop through shopping malls. I picture her.

Galloping along for all she's worth. Mouth hanging open —

First published in the 2021 Live Canon Anthology

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