Where are you now?

artist hands with large knuckles and thin wrists

diving into filled sinks of dishes, pursed mouth

tight around low-burning cigarette

I hear in Japan they won’t allow workers back into the office

until 20 minutes has lapsed since their last nicotine inhalation

but I grew up in a miasma, you’d have thought

become an over-eater before a smoker

not very clever, collecting knives from pain

cutting our own victories in half

running to you in my cheap nylon dress

deep pockets of want, hitting my cold knees

your back was curved like a violin

a grace even in the mundane

our flat smelt of good food and bad smoke

I breathe the memory of it in still

wishing it were you standing here

washing dishes and listening to 70’s music

with your deep sonorous voice and onyx almond eyes

glimmering with intelligence

like a record shines wetly when it’s played

the needle deftly skating groove, defying logic

as we jump in time, unawares

one day we’ll will be gone and our chapter will be permanently over

only the old carpet remains

moth eaten with reminiscence

just the indent of us, as we danced light footed

and the walls, stripped down by each generation

first 70’s purple, 60’s egg yolk, then 50’s baby blue wallpaper

until beneath it all

the bleeding heart of those who inhabited this space

wishing for the means to speak

their raging smoking pain

and once they leave, closing doors softly

ensuring nobody wakes by their departure

joining a distant matchbox of memories

lingering in unlit corridor

where the lights always flicker unsteadily

when you turn to switch them on

8 Replies to “Just the indent of us”

  1. You have taken the reader through several portals of time, emotions and lives. These lines gave me pause…. and the walls, stripped down by each generation
    first 70’s purple, 60’s egg yolk, then 50’s baby blue wallpaper. Which reminded me of our first house that was very old, as I stripped decades old layers of wallpaper each made me wonder about the previous occupants and what they were like and placed myself there. I 💙 this poem.

  2. I don’t right off know why this line stands out – “moth eaten with reminiscence” – but it does and it’s going to stick and pop up again somewhere. Absent parents, no matter how or why, alive or dead, or present, but not

  3. Thank you so much! that part was taken from experience I had the same as you and like you I thought about who lived here before and what that meant and it really touched me. thank you for reading and for your support xo

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