Slowly the ball of her right foot descends
to press down gently on the stair below,
rolls like a marble on an endless track,
seeks out the spot - the only spot - that does not creak.
Slowly her weight transfers to it.
Slowly the left descends to add its weight,
she feels the pace of life take a new leash.
The house is full of echoes: voices, rasps and groans,
she hears the sound of someone shuffling cards.
A fortune being told? Perhaps a fortune lost.
The warm air from below seduces her, clings
like a robe to her nude form. She moves her arms
as if to draw the garment round her, but instead
looks through the window on the mezzanine. A flash
of light from moon or car illuminates the scene:
a fox runs headlong, through a field and down the hill,
then lets the forest swallow him. STEEP HILL, she reads.
Then: 1-IN-5. ENGAGE LOW GEAR. The catseyes glint,
and all but freak her out. DANGER LORRIES TURNING
screams at her. She turns, looks back to view the screen,
sees overlapping versions of herself - fifteen
she counts. They clunk a bit. Walt Disney-ish,
the way they portray movement. Spread below
an engineer's delight: what passes in these more
enlightened times for what we used to call
a life class: cat-walk, film and video
The students cheer and throw their cameras
and mobiles in the air. The right foot's off again.
The window mists and seems to move. NO PARKING looms
and TURNING NOT ALLOWED... BEWARE PLANT CROSSING. Arms
appear. Two hands. The hands sweep back and forth.
The window fails to clear - her body-heat, perhaps.
The willows - or the window cleaners - gently tap
the glass. Her boyfriend's naked form falls limply on her lap.
The window clears, the local constable peeps in.
The verities of life vie in her consciousness,
the who and where she is, how life unfolds;
expressions of her hopes and memories.
As easily she slips between them as to sleep,
like being born or fading into death.