‘Eleven days’ by Natalie Shaw

Eleven days

I was on Wikipedia looking for something
and I found eleven missing days, imagine.

I spent a couple as a man
in his early thirties. I had a convertible,

I wore sunglasses. I parked wherever I wanted.
I had fun like people in adverts have fun, Lynx for example.

Then I went back to the stately home we visited
and had tea on the lawn. I was

Isabel Archer at the beginning of
Portrait of a Lady, except this time

I knew to avoid the grand European Tour
and instead I stayed at home,

and practised the pieces
that normally I don’t have time to,

now I can play them all really well.
I learnt how to cha cha cha too,

all those dances we were going to dance together
but never got round to, you’ll be amazed

when you see me. It went really quickly,
on the whole. All those beautiful, empty minutes

to spend in the sun, drinking espressos
and eating ice creams in Venice, Siena. I’m sure

any one of you would’ve done the same,
but I found them first and I’m sorry, they’re gone.
 
 
(first published in Lighthouse, February 2015.
 
 
 

Natalie Shaw works as a user researcher, and as a mother of small and large children. Her work has appeared in various print and online journals and anthologies, most recently Angle and The Chronicles of Eve (Paper Swans Press). She tweets @redbaronski