Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The gloaming

A lurk at the bottom of the wardrobe,
the nagging thought that makes you wonder if the gas is on.
A creep outside the window, a pretend face where leaves tap and flutter.
A turmoil of fox fight,
jagged edges of the night;
too many sounds out there yet not enough
to stop the pealing knell,
to quell the gloaming in your chest.
You turn over.
You sit up.
Eyes scratch,
you light a match and watch it burn. Soon the whole pack is spent.
The telephone rings.
It's for the old you, the one they think they know,
the one you're not sure you knew at all.
Outside daytime sounds tell you night is over.
How many hours have passed?
Oh well, you think.
You made it again.
Peel a curtain back, blink at the light, and let it fall.
A lorry chugs outside; a man calls to someone.
You hear children on their way to school,
dragging feet and swinging rucksacks at each other, laughing.
Inside, the darkness roams in and out of rooms.
You are slothlike, pajamed, softened by a life indoors.
A cup of tea gone cold,
an egg in a saucepan boiled dry,
a stack of free newspapers pushed against the door.
Even the cat has up and left: her food is dry and curling in the bowl,
starting to smell, and
the flap hasn't swung for a while now. 
The woman upstairs leaves for work, banging the door,
a jumble of keys and a smell of burnt toast,
off out into her life like everything is fine.
Out comes the diary, your shaking hands making spiders on the pages:
writing the thoughts in hope they'll disappear,
absorbed into the paper. You tell yourself
when you get to the final page you'll get help.
Fifteen pages left.
Fifteen pages and you'll call your Mum.
Fifteen pages to life.

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