All year, the pile of red bills grows.
The final demands and the urgent requests
to settle this account are rammed in drawers
and shoved behind the clock
till somewhere on the circuit
which links sub-station to socket
a coupling snaps
and the dark is switched back on.
And it’s nothing but relief:
darkness restored and rinsed of light
like white paint washed
from a black cat.
The blare of the chandelier,
the spotlight, the striplight and the LED
masks the quiet cue of the sun bowing out.
Without shadows, without dusk or doubt
there is no prompt to clarify the flicker
of a secret story seen from the corner of your eye,
no need to ask what happens next
and then what happens after that?
This is the answer, mark it with a tick:
the ghost-green hands of a luminous watch
left on a bedside table –
eleven-o-five and all’s well.
In the dark we recognise the blue half moon
at the base of a candle’s almond flame,
and catch sight of the young aunt
who’s writing her niece’s name in air
with the cherry end of her burning cigarette,
who blows a smoky kiss
and is off into the night.