Domestic Epigrams


Past the screen of trees, a thicker darkness than tonight's, come glinting flashes in windows, cars negotiating back streets, or street lamps themselves; and as I move they blur, bleed into one another, like blasts seen through tears from further wars, signals in blockaded gulfs, or black-out violations. Yes, but our children are still snoring, and the flat is calm . . .


And here in the small hours, with screens, tatami, futons full of dreaming family, a cloud of vapour fills the spare room. Its humidifier, set too high, was left on pumping out gouts of steam.


I come back to the door and find a cloud-sea's snowy mountains, islands rising from the foam, or a nippled hill at dawn with plumed evaporating rains — and not a dry eye in the house. So much of life's devoted to keeping wetness in its place; but celebrate it, let it thrive; and come back to the door past midnight, it's into that whiteness I climb.