A Time of Darkness

Head balanced on hands
Staring mutely at wood grain
Counting lines, comparing knots
My head motionless, eyes darting

Lines and knots develop
Into expressive imaginary faces
Welcome company at our oak table
After three months and six days of solitude

A rare phone call passes in a blur
An awkward friend stammers her apology
A million reasons for her absence
Her neatly-transferred guilt engulfs me

Unused vocal chords intensively labour
Faking upbeat sounds of reassurance
Outwardly calm, but screaming inside
My unseen eyes pleading for help

The call ends at her hurried insistence
The allotted time up; duty becomes a distraction
Her sentence hanging as the receiver clicks
Hours, once more, now merge into days

Distant happy shouts of passers-by
Shoppers returning home to get ready
For evenings of fun and company
With family, friends, lovers; people

The late afternoon sun descends
Leaving me once again with darkness
And my company of imaginary friends
Their knotted faces fading finally to black

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