There is no other sign of life here,
only my fingers caught between
the wooden pages of a newspaper.
When everyone else builds
the flat packed cement houses outside,
me and the nurse behind the glass
scrutinise each other, munching dry biscuits
saying sorry for the spoilt tea nobody drinks.
Of this I am not yet so sure.
I suppose she checks the pulse,
the nurse with a concrete face
keeps filling in the charts
with the same precision she fills in
the crossword spread open
over my legs.
I do not mind.
I say to her ‘could you please remove the batteries
from the white clock’ the time
does not matter now
what matters, I think she says, is hanging on in there.
Her own watch upside down
hanging on, just about, with her name badge.
I offer her my bed.
I could after all sit in the waiting room
by the door
or make her coffee, I suggest.
But Susan points her finger at that hole,
uncovered wound on my chest.
‘For now, let’s just talk.’
The bare wall is
the last thing I remember and
Susan watching the news.
You see, it can rain with blood drops.
The proof the white shirt I’ve been wearing for the past two days
on my walks through the city.
I have been saying all along that
someone died there at the top floor
but you keep reading, ask me to
sit down and drink the cup of tea
before it gets cold.
Death is not a matter of your concern, you say,
we have to hope like everyone else
for a better world and
let the justice be done.
Of course, but I
always like the tea very cold,
my hopes interrupt your thought process
as they remind you every day that
growing old means nothing.
I am the same unnecessary love,
making a spectacle of myself,
making a revolution out of silvery-grey ribbons.
In the big void, I keep standing up
with my stained shirt still on
and say no.
She keeps on looking behind
at the corn fields,
her blue dress follows her skin
as she walks ahead of me
into the wood.
The colour of her ink has now changed
everything reminds me of home.
When she leaves, the house leaves with her,
the noise of the smashed flower pots
wakes the neighbourhood up.
I am not awake:
dream her dreams,
jump out of bed at night to go to the bathroom
and yes! look at the box of chocolates,
look in her bag
for treats, for sweets,
for a word, for something
once the talking is done.
She reminds me to close the door
in the dark, tripping over her hollow slipper
yes! I suppose
the only surprise in solitude is death.