Behind flippancy metaphors circle like mosquitoes.
Her replies arrive on cue since I plunged in,
wished her happy birthday a day late at 4 a.m.,
proposed we stop counting them, her age ending in 9,
our ‘talk’ thin, as enigmatic as a Pinter play.
From an inventory of my own pain I sense hurt,
offer titbits scrooged from that old privacy
the heart strings, then swivel the focus back to her,
learn she lives alone like me in a cottage.
The unselfish share larger premises, I joke,
her innocence as a child ghosting her photo,
cute as a cottage. Warnings flash, grief in arrears,
the soft thud of my newspaper outside this tiny room.
Her last email a year ago bounced.
She didn’t know if I was alive or dead.
I type doomed. She says I can’t help myself.
OK, but LOL? Ouch. I wish it meant lots of love.
Lucky I didn’t essay fugitive or alien on screen.
We shun phones, stick to a keyboard ritual
if rituals can bypass the heft of silence, of years.
She deserves to know more about my stealthy life.
A provocateur, I ask her to be honest.
My inbox fills, hypocrisy a rat’s gnaw, ideas form.
Her men gone, gone, her daughters now switched
to their dad’s side, blame her for family ruin,
conjuring an epilogue of words, doomed still dangling.
Trespass With Black Swans
Truant Reynard, memory of egg-crunch,
cygnets taller, convoy en famille, coats
fluffy grey, prey for him to take for lunch.
Swamp menu varied, waterline high, boats
banned here, high rainfall has hindered his run.
Parent birds usher their flotilla through
weeds as a wedge-tail eclipses the sun,
arcing a current fixed-wing, these true
hunters, fox, raptor, watching, carp-splash, day
dreamer wading flooded paths, sunken heart
weighted, summer furlough a month away
when wild creatures, trespassing me, shall part.
On my return from reading by the sea
grown swans will have flown, this fen hike still free.