White Breakfast

It was, after all, a beautiful day.

Your hands, resting on the white tablecloth,

the lost sheep in a perfect desert with no compass.

You passed me the tea, I took the newspaper and

arranged my dress in a neat knot on my lap,

smiled and looked the sun in the eye.

 

The fresh air suffocated us.

The summer, gone.

 

‘Too much beauty’ I thought to say before I slowly placed the cup in front of me,

‘too much of you’

but I kept a symmetrical distance between my toes and yours.

I stood up and went to the other side of the room

to watch you watching the sea.

 

On the floor, the breakfast crumbs.

Memory of my passing.

Photograph: @Maria Stadnicka, Lines’, Stroud

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Short Love Letter

 

Dear local MP, a while ago I vividly remember

writing you a very short note to say ‘fuck it, I quit!’.

I licked the stamp and dropped the envelope

in the box number eighty four, school lane, first left,

by the traffic lights.

 

I ran back to my flat, unplugged the TV

and read ‘War and Peace’ under the duvet covers.

 

By the time I got to page seven hundred and twenty I’d realised

the war was not the most important thing in a man’s life.

I started to feel a bit sorry for myself

having nothing to be angry about anymore.

 

But now, coming to think of it, you gracefully got over the insult

and posted back a signed Christmas card.

It arrived in January but let’s not stop at details.

 

I kept at my book for over a month.

The French got stuck in Siberia,

the women mourned, the men went back home

as they did in those days.

 

And then a neat Valentine appeared

hand-delivered by a Romanian postman.

Your concern for my love life brings me to tears.

There is nothing worse than rejected love.

Fractal

At night I can only look at you
through a keyhole.
Sitting on one knee, on the floor,
I go on writing my thoughts
on pieces of cloth.
Locked in a motionless day
I keep busy
cutting my memory in perfect squares
to check how small
you became over the years.
I measure and trim
the infinite distance
between the rooms in my heart
with blunt scissors
and wish
we had more time or at least
we had more courage
or beauty.
But all we did in those days was sleep.
We were very good at keeping quiet
until the moment
silence, at last, settled in.

2015/01/img_3982.jpg Photo: John Stadnicki

Thought

All the necessary preparations
were done. This is
what they will say when
the truth will eventually come out.

Although she never arrived
like everyone else
during the visiting hours
she almost made it.

If she had waited for a bit longer
someone, maybe you listening now,
would have noticed
the eventual passing
of such a miracle.

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Photo: Maria Butunoi

For Now, Let’s Just Talk

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
and maybe
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.

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Photo: John Stadnicki

Monologue

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
with her
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,
shining emptiness,
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.

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Photo: John Stadnicki