In Absentia

He found himself placing forks
where the spoons lived:
that was the opening shuffle
of memory's decks. His nights
collided with noon. He found
corroboration difficult.

And then there were absences,
handfuls of them like spare hair;
his days were shapeless,
pillows with the stuffing
ripped out like innards. He'd walk,
oh, say, a hundred yards,
and blow his memories
clean as a cat-whistle.

The tide was a blank,
a white smack of wetness
gloating for a moment
over the precipice of remembering.

The baize of a table;
a flowered eiderdown in shreds;
and sea, sniffing his heels.
He crouched on its edge,
tearing the dates from a diary,
and mumbling Someone
has been tampering.

From the book Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday