Poetry: Is this what I do?

By Lynda Tavakoli


On a corridor of fresh-painted magnolia

sunbeams stroke from velux windows

onto freckled carpets, while a television

talks too loudly to itself in someone’s room.


I find you sleeping, head sagged

as on a mis-hung coat hanger, hair,

just brushed, still full of war-time curls,

a legacy that did not pass itself to me.


I say your name, see the reluctant

wakening of your eyes, the disappointment

you had not slept your way to heaven.

You have told me this before.


Today we talk of blue dresses and funerals

and how you love my coat, and how

you love my coat, the colour redolent

of something already scudding out of view.


You ask me now if this is what you do,

just sit and wait, and wait and sit,

the resignation in your voice

the hardest thing for me to bear.


For in this room, that thief of time

has measured out its false remembrance in

the ticking of a clock, as the past becomes the present

and the present loiters somewhere in the past.