Plus Allowances   

It is the last vice. It is coffee,
With no kick to the head, is sex
With no heat or sad waking. Work

Calls us from dark beds to the next
Scatter of sky, where tired children,
Worn carpet are left in suspense.

It fills the head, a breaking wave.
Intent and pure, it burns out thought.
The screen is cleared. The papers shift,

The carrier’s van takes all they bought.
Machined steel piles up in its tray.
Even the voices, angry, fraught

Have been brushed briefly by its wing
Are soothed and sheltered off the phone
With a rare tact you could not bring

To dirt and tangled clothes at home
Although it is the day’s last gift
To weary you, to send you home.

The Bible tells, in its long breath,
How night comes, when no man may toil.
Work slows our small and greater death.

Alison Brackenbury

If you have any comments on this poem, Alison Brackenbury would be pleased to hear from you.

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