It was easy to start: the old-fashioned letters,
the worthless warranties, the pointless guarantees,
every trashy book from holidays we spent.
And the newspapers with useless news!
While the crows cry in the woods regardless.
And oh, the burning leaves of autumn,
I don’t have to tell you of that essence.
A box once packed with wrapped possessions
explodes as smoke ignites to flame.
Angry ghosts hiss,
fiddling in the fire.
That broken chair I know so well,
where you and I used to huddle and kiss.
A sweat stained pillow burns.
Dreams and feathers float
lighter than eyelashes.
I blink from more than smoke.
These are the flakes and artefacts of company;
the cushions of comfort, clothes turned to rags.
I do not disrespect them – there go my shoes,
the heels eroded particle by particle
on every rock and hill and beach I strode,
maddened with the problems of marriage.
And your dress – my favourite dress – cut up.
Long times since it was ironed, I should have kept the buttons.
And the sad curtains full of flowers
and the carpet full of spillage, I am sick of it.
They go on top of shelves I cannot fill any more,
blazing with bright crackle of sparks,
fuelled by dry worm-rot of those years.
It is enough. Time slinks slow as a boulder
lapsing into a grave – and I poke
with the tines of a four-pronged fork,
the lump of matted débris – I lift
and the red glares back at me, flares – and settles
to charcoal everlasting;
premonition of the end of ends.
And yet here come the jumping children,
leaping the pit to land in ash,
scratching grey-scale numbers on crazy paving,
playing hopscotch in dissolving rain
and a rainbow creeps across the sky,
forced by the sun.