Summer Echo · Andrew Shelly

Musty, dense summer
visits my flat in a pall of dust.
The day shines through the blinds,
muted, neuter. Time here is layered with other lives,
other of its tenants. A hair
trapped behind the old wallpaper. I pour the tea
in the early evening . I watch the night fall,
sipping. It's light, quick, sweet. The radio
simmers happily in and out of the silence.
The washed jeans cool on the rail. Friends come over
to see films flash across a screen and
the colours pass across our faces as we drink whisky,
pour frothing beer into china beakers. In the cupboard,
sunlight slowly fades a pile of old clothes
waiting to be laundered.
Light glows briefly around the edges of the blinds; a sifting
of dead insects gathers on the sill, a summer's sweeping.
Then in the fallen empire of the afternoon
someone phones from the other side of the world.
I rise in the early evening
to make the dark, tangy Indian tea.
The grass grows dusty, then it rains.
Sometimes I want to lay my head on the lush, wet green,
let that be my mark. I smile. A life
could be just waiting for the golden eras of the day
to gather into a glass you drink at twilight
and time a fat black cat asleep on the sill.
I smile sometimes

I realize now how everything I write
is a letter to you, you who once were here,
now are gone. I leave this for you, should you ever
come again, the absent one. The birds cry

and sometimes I think I can hear what they are saying