Julia Copus

This is the Poem in which I Have Not Left You.

This is the poem in which I have not left you.

The doors of the Greed Dragon are not bolted

behind our backs; the pink-faced landlady

(may she be blessed) has not abandoned us

to the unseasonable cold, that March

evening of your thirty-seventh year.

In the gloom that hangs over South Street, in the quiet

made of the humming of streetlights and the moon,

the horn from a distant freight train does not sound;

I do not turn – my tongue tied, my hands –

whatever there is to say is left unsaid.

And since I dare not speak, nothing transpires:

the street, in the moments after, does not shrink

to the slam of a door, the flare of an engine, you

suddenly elsewhere, you imagined, gone,

but seen, still seen (the night stretching between us),

cursing the fog on the Blackdowns, curving, finally,

into the narrow driveway of the cottage.

Our cottage, I meant to say, with its yellow walls,

its broken gate – I might have forgotten those,

and the fields and the light, were it not for the fact

that this is the poem in which we do not part,

but lie like lovers, one of whom is sleeping,

my head, as always, nearest the leaky window

through which the old sounds reach me – rain in the trees,

a gust of wind, a tipper truck, a siren

threading its way through the dark (but you’ll not wake;

your ears are shut, you won’t admit a thing).

Then further off, after the rain is done,

the voice of the redstart calling do it, do it!,

calling from the smallest tree in the garden.


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