Man Hug

Man Hug 

By Nick Slater


You know that goodbye that men do,
when they stride together arms open,
slightly shift faces opposite ways,
because God forbid their ears might touch,
or their cheeks might rub.

They pat the drum of the other’s back
with an open palm, three, four, five times,
a short touch, no squeeze, quick release,
because the world would surely implode
if they held on just that little bit too long.

If the fingers grazed the shoulder blade
or the hand gripped the plump of the waist,
if the nails scratched the base of the spine
or the knuckles softened the feeling of time.

If they held on in warmth,
and breathed in,
and pulled in,
and let go and looked
in each other’s eyes
and said, “love you, see you later”.

I’ve spent hours, days and years by your side,
I’ve heard your voice break, seen you try not to cry.
We’ve shared the same food, same friends, the same bed
I feel safe when I’m with you, and though it’s unsaid,
we are happy in silence and proud of each other,
you’re a critic, a mentor, a partner, a brother.

You’re my best friend so for fuck’s sake,
man,
let me hold you,
and say,
“love you, see you later”.


You can follow Nick Slater on Twitter.

Photo by Thiago Barletta on Unsplash

Read more of our poetry here.

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