Thursday, October 2, 2014

The tower

Written for #NationalPoetryDay

The boy in the hi-vis jacket circles
the circular tower.
They call it The Lighthouse, but
the nearest sea is two hundred miles away.
The looming, chimney structure beams its
casting eye over the hills of
Middle England.
Estates grow outwards from its watchful gaze,
and cows in the distance look up
when the grumbling sound starts to peal.
The tower was built to test lifts,
a column of nothing but lift shafts,
a vertical abseil through the night.
It's a boring job,
keeping watch for the nobodies
- who would come here?
But the girl who works in the cafe nearby
asks him for stories,
as though this job is shrouded in mystery.
He longs for something to happen.
His jacket is crisp and clean,
unmarked from no midnight scuffles,
the walkie talkie never in danger of
running down its batteries.
All he hears is the steady growl of lifts,
going up,
coming down. The clank and shutter and shift
and mechanical cranks,
then silence: all is well.
He questions why they employed him;
with such little security needed here.
He tells this to the girl,
who whirls her dip-dyed hair around her fingers,
elbows on the counter,
surrounded by iced buns and eyes flashing with intrigue.
Everybody round here knows the tower,
but even the listless kids don't try to come here anymore.
Maybe it's surrounded by a force field,
the girl says,
handing him his tea. He laughs,
not knowing why this place does this to people:
brims them with curiosity year after year.
He longs for something to happen.

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