You seem like a nice guy


You’re an engineer:

you understand
concrete, bearings, spans

you manage projects

you think in
time, space,
logistics, physics

you find solutions
jump to action

She doesn’t

Somewhere you know that.

When she said,
“I can’t get married in December…”
She meant: “I’m scared
you don’t love me right. I can’t get married in December,
maybe later”
(she hoped).
But you heard,
I can’t get married in December,
maybe later.”

So you grasp at
found a solution
“How about March?”

You think
she’s harder to crack
than the four properties of concrete
but she’s not so hard.

You know what you want:
her finally-home arms
as a bracelet round you chest

her Sunday-brunch smile

her chuckle, her steel, her doubt.

So it’s not so hard.
Whatever she says next…
pause, listen,
be still.
Resist the undertow to solutions
resist jet-ski actions
these violate the truth in sea

drive down your pylons into the sand
anchor yourself
in struggle against not knowing
and the bellow of inadequacy.

Whatever she says…
Listen, be still.

Into the stillness
you may see
a different kind of answer.
It may be modest
like a washer or staple.
But it will be the washer or staple
she asked you for
when she
couldn’t form the words.

Author: Rosey Chang

Rosey Chang is a Melbourne writer and academic who has lived in Japan. She writes academic articles, memoir and young adult fiction. Rosey has published locally and internationally. Her current project is a young adult novel set in feudal Japan.

1 thought on “You seem like a nice guy”

  1. That is a fantastic poem. The characters in relationship, so real and vivid and containing two cultures in contrast. One of my favourite poems for a long time. Brilliant!

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