Daybreak’s listless glow spelt out your face
a million wan grey words
that meant “goodbye”.
Damp lashes brushing boyish cheeks.
It was five in the morning.
Slowly I got on the bus
my aching eyes reeling past triptychs of windows
that posed you in stop-frame.
The engine sobbed and moaned.
Already we were separate.
I swore that I wouldn’t look back
wouldn’t glance at the road where you stood
watching me watching you go.
I felt your presence dwindle to a ghost.
Like Orpheus I turned around
and dazed with tears I glimpsed you through the crowd
waving your old red hat.
The house I lived in. Cold,
its bile-green door a story told in sidelong glances,
whores’ romances, your-last-chances, guilt and mould
and death by a thousand cuts. Last night I fucked
– first time in years. Woke up. The phial
six inches from my head, the sheets unpalatably
wet. The streets cried out to me like blinded birds
a name I’d never known was mine. I pulled the cork out.
Checked the time. The clocks had all run down.
I drank. Got dressed. My very best. You’d be impressed.
The portraits on the walls began implacably
to frown. Downstairs the doorbell rang, the sound
was music to my ears, a lifetime’s fears frothed up and
popped like bubbles of champagne. I snatched the
dog’s head cane and opened up the door. Outside
the bleak clouds wept down rain.
I’ve done all this before. I do it, now, again.