Leaving

The door slams open, and you're straight out.
First thing you notice is the thick silence,
a swat of air, where once there was only
crockery conversation. You pause. Breathe deep.
On the kerb, you kick, get the old legs going.
The fingers are unfamiliar, the ones with which
you jingle mint keys. And they rummage one another,
play sorcerer, skilfully. Sky's light-headed.

Yesterday you heard the pandemonium,
skirls of argument, the brass valves blowing
spit in your ears, white-hot. The kettles
kept coming. And now: all squall's stalled.
You took the single litany you heard,
hacked for the exit, found yourself out.
The street just stood there, long gob gaping:
with soft studs, you suffocated its tongue.

Even the white noise has skedaddled,
there's nothing, not even the bent echo
of the threepenny dropping. The glazing
works: the spare air has settled, gentle,
on the soft promise of your longer life.
Nothing convulses. Your eardrums are dumb.
When the surf resurfaces, there will be
fresh spume spittling along its quiff.

Now the world's amaryllis, importunate,
and the space of it suckers your palate.
Speaking, you feel your lips pump, pucker
in an attitude of pleasure. Head right down.
When the last silence has been scrumped,
wrung from your tongue, the old tumbrils
jampacked with panic will rattle back.
You're free. Sssh. You have another minute.

From Love Poems