The curtains stay shut, blocking
the blackbirds’ cheerful coupling.
The quiet clock faces the wall.
There is shame in the envy of birds.
She buys new shoes with silent soles,
a dress with side zips, cheaper underwear.
Black pens mark the disappointment
of frequent cancellations.
The hotel charges extra for a smaller room,
its digital singleness pushing dreams into walls.
There is no one here to remind her
to switch the light out.
She returns to find the house did not wait up,
its dark windows outnumber her
reflecting back an unfamiliar face
as she let herself in.
First published in New Contexts 3 2022