by John Blackmore

She is English Breakfast Tea:
Not too strong, milk, no sugar.
Taking the pot, she fills a cup half-full,
Returning to her journal
Slowly brimming with cobalt ink,
Before she takes a drink.

—‘Is everything ok?’ I’m asked
I lie, my mind no longer here,
But tied in knots from thinking what to say;
Courage failing, stalling time, harboured fears
Are unlikely to impress.

Who is it that she waits for,
A colleague? Friend?
Some harmonising heart-throb troubadour?
I see the fiddle case that leans against her feet.
My legs grow restless, dancing to this tune,
I know I should take up that vacant seat.
She glances up: I close my eyes and pray my life will end.

She is vivid dreams and unclipped wings,
I see her through my eyelids shape my world.
I reopen my eyes, reaccustom to the light and pallid things.
She’s gone. Her empty cup remains, and steam unfurls.