Shifts

Waking alone at night I picture you

features face-lifted into weird relief

by the angle poise – by the reverse shadow

of light doing the paperwork of death

or probing the long darkness of the ward

with a pencil torch. Here a dilated eye

stares oddly; there an unconscious word

hops from the forest floor as you skirt by...

By day we swap. I cycle off to work

to play with kids, to hug them when they fall,

to soothe their worries with a tease, a joke

or, telling fairytales, make sure they all

end happily. Forgotten in the warm

penumbra of my day your sleeping form.

Keith Chandler