the gallery floor
On days when we’d go to the galleries,
I chose my shoes based on their sound
against the concrete or hardwood floors.
Elegant but hushed, I wanted the day’s rhythm
punctuated by our companionate shuffle,
overlaid by the chatter of the patrons
and our cheeky side remarks. Spoken
in low tones during the intersection
of our orbits, we’d reveal which pictures
we would hang in our homes,
ones that left us besotted, and those
we just couldn’t care less about—
a statement typically followed by a nod
and an exit into the next exhibition room.
We spent time together elsewhere too
but, in the galleries, our edges became soft—
a lifting only possible with proximity,
like birds finding the upwash,
my feet barely brushing the floor.
ERICA GILLINGHAM is a queer poet & writer living in London, England, via Siskiyou County, California. She is a bookseller at Gay's The Word Bookshop, Books Editor for DIVA, & Poetry Editor for The Signal House Edition. Erica has a PhD in lesbian love stories in young adult literature and graphic novels. (She wrote a lot about kissing.) Her debut poetry collection 'The Human Body is a Hive' is published by Verve Poetry Press. This poem was first published in There Will Always Be Nights Like This (Cipher Shorts #1), Cipher Press, June 2020 Website. Instagram.