A Comfort

I have been alone
for far too long - learning lots
and nothing
that might make me nice
to live with.

Each morning I raise a flag
to independence,
so high no one can see the darns,
frayed edges fluttering
in a breeze off the sound,
where on bad days strong men
have drowned, pitifully
close to home; I have found their boots
washed up on the shingle.
Have we met before?
did we speak? Make promises
neither of us could keep?

I am having a ball
the time of my life, by a mile,
by a long shot. See sun
on the barrel
of a well, oiled gun, pointing
at my head.

Ballads are written about lives
like mine,
three simple chords;
tears choked down
by dark sighs.

I stole that last line
and in these ghost-filled hours
before day,
it's a comfort
to hear Pasternak's locomotive
calling from sixteen versts away.

Sue Butler

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