To Absent Friends by Robert David Verdon

rubicund eraser
in red light

it is the tumbling year

fogbound wheels turn
                                        on the verge of a distant bend

the candle shimmers through itself
its horizon melting as I work, head bent, beside lukewarm coffee,
writing in pencil
a closed letter to absent friends

— like everything I write, some have
never existed, harpsichord echoes,
flames sunk in amber

I write, pointlessly,
losing my way,
complaining that
my mistakes have been made indelible, and follow me round
like a torturer’s bill for the electricity,

that my imagination lost the taste for power decades ago,

that the little city is growing sharper,
drive-by shootings held back only by the mountain,
and I am only glad I need not scour garbage pyres for a living,
tottering up to tumble down, and

finally,
hope you are well,
that I write on a rainy night, a rain through fog,
while the chair creaks, traffic thins, a cat cries far away at midnight,
and I know it is time to go to bed or check my email or do a thousand
inconsequential things to fill in the time between now and the pewter day I die;

the gravel clouds pile up above the ceiling, life gutters,
lone cars drip through night intersections,
traffic lights flicker in the soul, the red glow is almost gone now,
erased in a maze of tumbling days

— my coffee is cold,
I am old,
a bloodstain of light
at the edge of the curtain —

is tomorrow,
that phoenix,
absent too?

Robert Verdon
Robert Verdon has been writing for may years. He once belonged to Aberrant Genotype Press in Canberra. He came 2nd in the 2012 W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize, and was Highly Commended in the 2012 erbacce Prize, UK. His books include The Well- Scrubbed Desert, Her Brilliant Career, & Before we Knew this Century. He is currently completing PhD on the imaginal scene in poetry composition. His hobbies include cycling, walking and 10-pin bowling.
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