THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2005

 
Judy Brown
THE BUSINESS TRAVELLER
 

The grinding of the Gare St Lazare rubs at his room
as day falls away from the hotel’s long windows,
and the things he knows draw tidally back

to the tightening coil of a single thought.
He’s curled and castaway in the rich deck of his bed.
The ceiling rose far above hoses him with light.

In this lost bed, on the night’s new sheets, he dreams
of old walls at his back and ingots of pale butter.
But hourly a crack in his sternum breaks him awake

to a roil of regret for things that are done with
until the balcony windows shine at him
with the fine and absolute gleam of jet.

The white hole of the bathroom sucks on his warmth
and a knuckle of all he’ll never do or be
knocks in his chest, and raps on bracelets of rib.

Then the night’s gaze takes the room and opens it
and he twists to the spindle of the chandelier,
answerless under the banners of black window.

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