Poetry: Cold Office

This insolent office

Has the cold indifferent hum about it

That is almost life

(a scar is almost skin)

The circulating pattern: lights on, lights off

Endlessly turning motor

Of the sestina

When we sit deep in the lights-off systolic rush

Slow coma of time

Until they start again, exhale, the fans

Breathe and the diaphragm elevator

Plummets towards the basement

In that slow burn

Like a cigarette brand on skin

The world constricts cellophane-tight, breathless

Around us

Gradually the flesh blisters under heat

And is gone

Replaced by the bubble of a budding scar

(a scar is almost skin)

The seamless join between

Skin and not-skin

That flesh is heir to

But we do not flinch or pause

The country of pain

Is wide and borderless

Conscience’s cowardice dims

The hand that reaches again

For the screen colleagues

Fluorescent lights, the unforgiving glare

Is stilled


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