When You Leave

When you leave, cramming a bag
with scraps of anger,
with pieces of scream
which whistled past you,
and smashed,

and the latch is snapped,
your children dreaming
in their beds upstairs
of futures containing
your silhouette self -

then, stepping off
into night which effaces
your features like nylon,
you think
that you'll be invisible.

Nobody warns you, as you flap
your spare hand at taxis
ferrying fares,
that the world remains
painfully simple.

Out of the lamplight,
holding each other like lovers,
acquaintances traipse
and trade their time
for your greeting:

nothing has changed.
You stand on the kerb,
waving, your flat feet
surfing
incredulous breakers.

From the book Love Poems