Friend of a friend

You can’t help thinking what your mother would say:

‘Don’t talk to strangers!’ But when you’re that far gone

you’ll talk to anyone; even the stranger

in the underpass who sees you throwing up,

offers you help, says he lives in the next road.


Now it’s 3am, another underpass,

and you’re desperate for a phone box that works.

When the boys arrive you’re carrying your jeans,

inside out and stained at the seat with what looks

like hand cream and blood. You say you were attacked.


Later, safe and sobering, you can hear them

downstairs – drunk on plans to ‘fuck up this faggot’.

Tomorrow you will shower, come clean to them,

come out to them; confess that he was your first.

You just keep thinking what your mother will say.