. Love and Loss: Poems for Viktoria Sokoli . Love I I once loved a girl called Viktoria Sokoli With eyes of the colour of spinach and broccoli. Her skin was as soft and as smooth as a peach; Her breasts left me utterly robbed of all speech. Her thighs were as milky as fine alabaster, And touching her, oh, how my heart would beat faster! But nothing could ever compare with the bliss Of feeling her lips on my own when we kissed. II I once had a girl called Viktoria Sokoli; She’d lie in my arms and I’d cradle her tenderly. I’d find in those moments, unburdened of care, The beauty and absolute stillness of prayer. But then she’d move closer and whispering gently Declare that she loved me and kiss me intently. And in such delights and such pleasures I'd spend My days with this girl I thought never would end. III I once knew a girl called Viktoria Sokoli Who used to torment me with jealousy constantly. She liked to provoke me with lists of her lovers, Forever recalling the names of her others. Yet all this I see now was merely a show That Vicky the strength of my feelings might know. If only to anger I’d not been a slave I’d be with my darling and not in my grave. . Loss Viktoria Sokoli stood at the door And stared at the puddle of rain on the floor. She walked to the bedroom and sat there alone To wait for her lover who'd said he would phone. She waited and waited; the call never came. Each day it was always exactly the same. The desolate stillness turned hours into years As always she’d struggle to hold in the tears. Her lover had left her one terrible night: They'd quarrelled and had the most desperate fight. But then in the morning he'd rung to say sorry; He'd call her that evening: she wasn't to worry. But that was the last time that ever they spoke, Or ever his face she would tenderly stroke. For then came the silence that never would end As never again would she see her best friend. Viktoria Sokoli sits on the bed, Alone with her grief and the pain in her head. Her world is so bare and unbearably sad: She wonders if this is how people go mad. Viktoria Sokoli lies down to sleep, Resisting again the temptation to weep. Tomorrow perhaps he will call after all. She closes her eyes and caresses the wall. . . Paul Martin Freeman is an art dealer in London. The poem is from The Bus Poems: A Tale of the Devil, currently in preparation. His book, A Chocolate Box Menagerie, is published by New English Review Press.