Living Alone

Some days it takes the raised voices
of men building empires
to make me appreciate
the echo of myself in the hall.

The glint of a knife
plunged deep and quick; stabbing
or sawing at vertebrae
in a lift, in a restaurant,
in newspapers for the world
to gloat over;
makes a symphony
of the blackbird and my kettle
whistling in harmony:
water for one, water for one.

The armchair turns out it clawed feet,
sloughs off its ugliness
and as it cradles my weight
even I am not ugly, merely tired.
The only battle here
is between the wind
and the apple tree; a pip
my grandfather thumbed in the earth.
Splintered fingers, gnarled as his,
claw at the open window. Help!

I was doing so well,
now I am blind, sobbing
for myself and these butterfly leaves
taking a lifetime to fall.

Sue Butler

If you've any comments on this poem, Sue Butler would be pleased to hear from you.