I usually can predict what people choose
Her teenage eyes had wit and prettiness,
She moved along the shelves with graceful ease
Like a good-humoured royal inspecting scouts.
But then belied her looks and swerved away
From bleating literature to braying fame.
Yes, I was disappointed when she picked
The footballer’s life story. What could he
At twenty-two years old have found to say?
Rich, fêted and handsome, he hardly needs
The royalties. Why couldn’t she just look
At online shirtless shots to have a laugh,
A giggle with her friends and skip this dross?
From my internal sourness a sneer rose
To overrun a face schooled to be bland.
At the till I asked nastily if he
Had made a movie or a record yet,
Or had he coached old statesmen in world peace?
She said more pleasantly than I deserved
That he was busy with his training camp
And violin. And would I wrap the book,
A present for kid brother, a great fan,
But stuck in hospital, the outlook bleak.
I inhaled heavily as if one could
Retrieve said words together with the air.
How to avoid the prigs’ circle of hell?
Repentantly I said, ‘You’ve chosen well’.