I join you on your island twice a month.
I am punctual, mooring carefully, so that I can leave on time.
I find you hunkering down among the armchairs
washed up in a clearing of white space.
The walnut bureau looms above a scattering of flotsam,
finger-worn fish knives, napkin rings, forgotten glasses.
Today it’s tropical, steam rising from radiators
spread with sheets, pyjamas, pants.
In the distance, the falling notes of a flute,
the purr of machines settling for the night.
You have stopped going to the edges to look out,
you stare down, as though searching for a coin,
lost in this familiar place where the rooms fall in
upon themselves and all around is the swell of other lives.
First published in New Contexts 2 (2021)