The tables wiped and the windows latched
and the cellar trap door closed and bolted.
He lies still in his bed.
Headlights from passing cars arc across the wall.
He walks on the stair and does not feel
He waits by the fireplace in the function room.
He waits and he waits for what?
Upstairs he finds a party, all talk
hushed whispers at the oak panelled door
as if a reading or recital is about to begin.
He turns to talk as streamers and balloons fall.
There’s only a girl with braided hair
and her back to the window pulley. Then nothing.
What was the question he wanted to ask?
Where is your mother? Where’s sleep?
He hears laughter downstairs in the snug bar.
A match struck and the tinkle of glasses
after closing. Outside the weather
improves. The wind drops. A woman’s
laughter falls between shadows.
He is not quite nothing, his memories
housed in frames. He flickers
like a daguerreotype in an old man’s dream.
The party downstairs is over.
He is not yet ready to leave.
Credit note: “Revenant” first appeared in broadsheet 7 and was subsequently published as the Dominion Post’s “Wednesday Poem”. It is published here by kind permission of the author.
Tim says: What a cool poem, and how well it characterises the revenant, the ghost not yet ready to leave. This is one of the many fine poems that Harvey is writing – I very much enjoyed his first collection, Moonshot, and think his next collection is going to be even better. You can find out more about Harvey and his writing on his blog.
The Tuesday Poem: You can check out the other Tuesday Poems for this week on the Tuesday Poem blog – the hub poem at the centre of the page, and all the other poems to the left.