As you go

you leave part of yourself and it hesitates
in the hallway, trapped in the afternoon’s half-light.
That first hour I pace the house, trace your steps            
from stair to door making sure they crossed the mat.

I pull the curtains tight at the top, right to the top
and your things strewn across the front lawn
sit up, sigh and then scatter.
I shut the curtains as if they are steel                     

so you can’t feel your way in, but I know
the fabric is thin, the lining is rotten.                     
I slip my hand through to close the window
so the room can’t draw you, heave you to

this end of the hall where my head whirrs
at every sound the street makes: a car door’s slam,
a woman’s shout, the wheels of a pram scraping 
the pavement and a child who lags, drags his feet,

his football boots clumping.  A shadow         
leans against the wall, and all I can think to do
is wrap my hands round the dog’s muzzle
so he can’t make a sound.

Abegail Morley

If you have any comments on this poem, Abegail Morley would be pleased to hear them.