When a woman flirts with you at a party, you think
how flattering as you try to fish the gaze of a man
who will not learn your name. Later, you will
replay the night like a tape in your mind’s eye.

Play. How she stroked your cheek. Pause.
Rewind. The way her eyes tripped over
your mouth. Play. Why did opening my lips
feel like breaking bread? Stop. Fast-forward.

Later still, you will notice how the wind
wins a fight with a friend’s headband
and makes theater out of her hair,
each strand beckoning applause

or the sprinkle of freckles on a bartender’s face,
wonder how many constellations you could
trace with the tip of your finger as she smiles
and adds an extra wink of gin to tonic.

Afterwards, the contours of her dress, the plunge
at its back a glittered invitation into the base
of her spine, how when she dances the zip
becomes a question mark this night cannot resolve.

You will notice that you’re noticing.
You will wonder whether you have spent
your whole life unaware of your longing, trapped
in thistle and barbed wire

rewinding and replaying each lost chapter
and the love there could have been.

“Replay” from A Little Resurrection by Selina Nwulu. Copyright © 2022 by Selina Nwulu. Used by permission of OWN IT! Agency.