Wednesday 25 October 2023

Poetry 2023 Longlist, Karl Clancy

Let It Be Him

Footsteps in the hall outside
Is it him?
Please god let it be him.
The walls are thin
Paper thin
Scarcely more substantial
Than the air between
Outside and in,
Yellowed with age
Peeling at the corners like me.
The radio sits on the table
I'm unplugged too
From the noise of everything
I don't want or need.
Except for those footsteps
I want those to be him.
I realise that what I hear are heels
Christ, it's not him come finally
To claim this worthless
Wretched carnival prize.
It's her
And I know in that moment
I'm doomed to hell.
I pour another drink
Light a cigarette
Close my eyes
And wish for a firing squad.
No such luck
The only gunfire
Is the sound of knuckles
Against the treacherous door
My heart stops
But not for long enough.
She's here, the love of my life
What a joke
She's a vampire
Biting deep, drawing blood
I tell myself there's nothing left
But that's a lie
Because there's always more
More drab walls
More longing
More smokes
More drink
More want
More love
Maybe the more I give
The less of me there'll be
Until finally I fade out
Curling up and away
Like the smoke
From the cigarette in the tray.

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