He comes in

and the door is open.
people are working
on the next-door flat. it's
a cleaner
and some guy from maintenance;
clearing out fag-ends
and fixing a broken latch.

the entrance
open to mice
and birds.
the furniture

there is a hole
in the room
where the sofa had been,
where they would sit
and talk
and drink no coffee

he says to the guy
"did they move out?"
playing a part
though he knows
the answer.
they had told him
they were going
to be going,
but that they would not
tell him when
or where,
they were planning on skipping the last month's rent
and didn't want him ratting
to the landlord.

such rare birdsong.

says the guy. he is
screwing something in
above the door. possibly
he is
fixing wires
or reattaching
the doorbell
or an alarm
to detect deception.

doesn't seem inclined
to conversation.
and why should he be?
he says
and opens his own door. his
is full
of objects. he
has permanence
here. he wonders
where they are now
and whether
it is sunny
or raining there.

if they left their tv,
and what else
might be there
they wouldn't miss.

back to issue