Leaving Jones


Love is Leaving Jones,
dark of a crisp December morning
slipping the leash on Olwyn's neck, she’s
leaving the harbour of Jones still sleeping
behind this dawn steamer, urgently breathing
scattering frost like scarred dreams breaking,
tolling the quiet pavement, waking the light
and the ready to rise,
as street lamps are failing, a street at a time
switching to grey from bright concrete yellow
she crosses the road to the gate and goes in,
stands for a moment to study the grass
and the marks in the frost where someone has been,
while she listens for breath and hears only her own
and that of a dark December dawn,
Olwyn is restless, his nose sniffs the air
and his breath shouts a signal for others to see
she picks up her wrist and in the dim light
sees that the fingers have stopped on the hour
but knows in her heart that a moment has passed
like the footmarks she follows out over the grass,
Olwyn fresh at her heels,
picking up scents, lost in the dew
like her feet in the shoes
that Jones bought her, she slips off a shoe
to remember the grass and the way that it feels
when it slides through your toes like a sharp knife of glass,
she slips it back on to take home some of the dawn
trapped in her shoe, crushed underfoot,
pressed in a memory of Olwyn at play, nipping
the ear of a dog running free and watching his face
while Jones, lifting his hat, said I think we've both found a friend,
as if that would be all and the moment
too soon suddenly come to the brink
before he says, in response to her smile,
It's warm, for the time of year, don't you think,
Olwyn snuffles at left-over nettles
stewed in the sharp cut of  winter and softened
by cats, and time finds her waiting
listening for the movement that she knows
is taking place in the rusting of metals
in the dripping of  taps,
in the clink and the rattle of coal in a scuttle
and the soft click of heating clock triggers,
where the world of time is passing her by,
she turns a heel then turns again,
remembering things she calls her own,
changing the values, balanced precariously high
on the weight of a smile, she thinks once of Jones,
Olwyn is leaning the end of the leash,
night-black, this cruiser of territorial seas
swollen with concrete, placated by paving,
his steam grips the air, she holds him in check
like the hope in her heart and the feeling for change,
the sharp re-arrange of emotional furniture,
and Olwyn keeps pulling, remorseless and pure,
no mind to make up, no time to resent
or to question the hand on the bowl and the dish,
to be honest with Jones with a sharpness of eye,
no fire and no ice through his veins, like hers, rushing,
no staying, no leaving, no breaking of wish
while her feet keep on slipping, her mind in the park
and deep in the distance she hears Olwyn bark
to shatter the windows that watch her at dawn
putting back in the box a wish that was born out of
nothing perhaps, a gratuitous instant, a child born
of no-one that passed from the light but had kept her
and teased her awake all the night and she watches her feet
as they slip towards Jones and the future of maybes,
not certain, as Olwyn, not steeped in her bones
but held there on purpose, mended where torn with
the needles of thought that sew all conversation
and Olwyn is tugging, unaware of his station
as marker, timekeeper, reminder of place as he
leads her this dawn to the edge of disgrace,
Jones is still dreaming as she slides into bed,
Love left him this morning and he's still unaware
that it's waiting outside, where it tugs at her heart
like the world's blackest dog as it steams up the air
and she tucks herself into him, to reach for the past
and remember the heat that once shivered her bones
How far did you go, you're cold, says Jones
she holds her breath, then says, you're awake at last,
It's early, he looks at the clock, how was it today,
and the blade of grass between her toes
cuts through her sharp and clear, until
she turns her back and says, to herself,
It was warm, for the time of year.

 

 

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