A living telephone. This is how he floats
out of reach. Some you can hold
on the coldest night. A video call
from a blob-like face. As before
you lie on your bed, the drama
pre-baked, the dice loaded.
Be quiet, say nothing
down the seams of your trousers.
Suspend the story here. The dying
hum a melody. But don't open the door.
Let them rest on the embankment
where the snow is deep, the wind strong.
Who do you love best? Pick a card.
You come and go in search of something
real. You are less likely to see it
when it stirs than most.
In the half light, a shadow already
asking for forgiveness. The path back
is barely findable. I must have been close
once. I see her on the corner, her dress
raised, slowly at first. I'm so far away
the clouds over the hilltop town
are not moving. She stops me
on the street to say goodbye.
An icy night. Paralysed, I make a note:
mouth in need of repair. She appears
sincere. She'd heard and seen me
from behind. Whose voice
was it on the phone? Both of us
want it. So I'll have to come back for it,
I much older, falling
asleep on a small train.
Ahead the hill is pulled out
of the night. In the gap
of the unclosed door, we parted. She
went back to the hotel and I walked off
smoking the last cigarette
she'd given me. This is the only way
of travelling, you say.
I haven't asked you yet.
When I glance back, I am still
there advancing. That shape
we call human. If only it would go home.
With each step she lights a candle.
A memory burns. He rings his finger
on the bell, turns once more, waves
and walks away. We watch until he goes
pop in the snowy distance.
© Ian Seed