After hours, the store looks strange:
the lighting’s wrong, the energy gone,
cleaning and reshelving have no charm,
the sound of floor-buffs is hardly a song;
one can’t buy, and stealing trips the alarm
and changes the scene to a criminal cage.
There is no romance in wrapping up wires
from microphones after the concert is done;
the break-down crew drudges dolleys while tired;
their blood boils not, anticipates none
of the crackling club-bar looks
or all-sing-in-unison hooks;
slink they home, blurry-eyed, and expire.
Their love is like a deathless weed
growing around the stifling concrete
longing to touch the sun, which feeds
them both; but Sol is discreet,
wraps in clouds — which pay no heed
to the arrest their concealment bequeaths
to green things, for the context impedes
all beginnings. Invictus, indeed.
You say, “decease, this all must stop!”
We sit, facing one another across
the silence; hearts ache, so the chatter pops
until I self-censor; you break it, so I toss
a rag in your mouth; we sadden; the loss
of our commerce removes any hop
from our gait, slouching back to our dross.
Sighs in the tepid, damp, dead air
the oaths that they broke
when they spoke
and then frowned nearly
to death in the bitter white-knuckle hush:
neither wishes their strange symmetry to rush
away; as it is immortal, it does not die,
though it dreams as it sleeps, recalling its sky
that’s not touched in the aftermath’s virulent rust
but smoulders e’er beneath its own sputtering dust.