You carried a gun.
I carried a
knife.

And
this was our first date!
But of course
we both had our
hard pasts
visible on our skins.

In the pub
we circled our table,
sizing each other,
eyes burning each
other,
occasionally stopping so I
could gulp my Guinness
and you could sip your
tia maria and diet
coke,
a moment’s respite,
and we formed
circles
again.

This continued for some time,
clipped words
slowly becoming smooth sentences,
hard eye
softening.

Eventually
I sheathed my knife
and a handful of minutes later
you holstered your gun.

Many, many dates
later
you told me, yes
you had carried a gun
but all the chambers
were empty.
I laughed,
remembering
how foolish I had felt
that night
fiercely holding my plastic knife.