Sometimes I just find a poem pouring out of me and have no idea what it means or where it came from. This one happened after a morning of strong coffee following a sleepless night.
She sparkled somewhere in the darkness;
I could hear her and I could smell her
and then, like a slab of night come falling,
he was there and put his arm around her.
I heard their feet in the passageway as if
they were playing a rhythm on a giant drum,
and when the sound went out with them,
the night and the silence slid into the space.
There was nothing but a ticking, as if a clock
was shaving slices off the night while it waited
for morning to arrive. I pulled my blanket up
around my face and breathed its mustiness in.
And it seemed to me that somewhere I could
hear her crying, smell the saltiness as it came
flowing out of the two wounds we called
her eyes, put there by a heavy sharp hand.
Then, as if she was a fish we had once caught,
my dreaming reeled her back in. I woke or
thought I woke and there she was, that
diamante doll, standing and watching me.
I said I’m glad you’re back but why is it so early
when no-one else has come in, why is it so early?
Springs nudged me in the ribs to keep quiet,
saying can’t you see that this is all so wrong?
I breathed out and the darkness misted, and
then she was as if she had never been, a space
where she had once stood. The laughter of
the stars rang in my head like frozen blood.
Now two occupied coats hang in the doorway
and faces like leather masks move and blink
and let the words crawl out, slithering and
black like insect blood. I am led away by the hand.
Someone takes everything inside my head and
smooths it out, makes it black and white, sells it
to a man who has had his heart taken out with
a knife. I can see the scar where it happened.
Like a palimpsest, my life is erased. All that I am
is torn off like mouldy wallpaper. Something new
is fixed in place. I do not think that it will hold
but there is no wall there now. Nothing is there.
I can hear a dog barking, snarling at the future,
baring its teeth at something no-one else can see.
But I know that the night is just waiting to fall again
when it thinks that nobody is watching.