Switch

by John Stocks


He was tear-gassed at the Gare du Nord,
Fell onto the platform, retching, sobbing,
One airless electric afternoon
Of searing heat and fevered angst,
Disoriented and confused;
A foolish student prank. He swooned,
Dreamed of death; cold cheek to the floor.

Bonjour, Monsieur her keening face
Gilded by the sudden flash of light
Suddenly alert; and here was life.
As clouds cracked and storms thundered.
Clumsily she lifted him up,
Offered a tentative embrace.

All that day he wandered like a ghost
In half-bewildered consciousness
With a flash of synesthaesia
Music as the plane trees danced
A scrape against the gun-metal sky.
He embraced the Seine’s hypnotic churn
And thought of the mother he had lost.

Much later on the 7th flight,
Rattle of heels on metal stairs,
Geranium and hyacinth
She opened like velvet curtains
Slipped aside the duvet
And with a languid sweep of leg
Switched off the light.


Copyright © 2008 by John Stocks

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