November

It came more or less unnoticed.
Simply slipped inside and curled up
while no-one was looking.
Then, when the moment was right,
made its presence felt
and let it be known that it was here.
Here for good.
Here for as long as it took.

And in the summer months, for some reason,
things are always better than they seem.
Sitting, watching from the window,
they’re just a blur of colour,
all those passing people.
Moving by, laughter rising up, piercing the air,
making the sun feel warmer than it is.
This is all there is. This moment and no other.
No place for thoughts of creeping winter here.
But things are never as they seem.

And strangest of all perhaps,
is the way the days go on filling themselves.
Seeming to know no other way,
and not caring, they move forward.
On and on. Same as always.
So that that way it goes unnoticed
that winter is coming on.

And when did it happen, all this?
That summer so easily forgotten now.
Did it happen at all?
The only thing there is is this. This now.
Things taking hold, getting a firmer grip.
Not letting go.
Is this all there’ll be to remember in the end?

November arrived sooner than expected.
In the evenings it was hard,
to walk along illuminated corridors,
cold, raw, nostrils, throat filling
with a burning metal stench.
Then realising, with an antiseptic gasp
that you could also taste it.
Visiting time is over and out in the fresh night, the taste is gone in my mouth
but for you remains.
No sweet night for you to take the bitterness away.

From the window the sulphur specks
of glowing streetlights seem fantastic.
At this distance, so high up,
it seems there’s barely light at all.
Only moving objects,
trailing off into the darkness,
fading away, one by one,
Your skin yellow and pale,
like beeswax, like a candle.
Eyes closing now, and staying shut longer.

There’s steam out there I notice.
Just beyond the glass.
Little wisps of it, curling
and whispering something.
Tapping on the windowpane,
but no-one can hear.
We only watch now.
Just sit and watch. Just sit in silence.
Every second stretched to the limit.
Until the last second falls, just before dawn,
and we head off home without you.

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