In the water mill they
pay the landlord in eels.

He writes a long letter
to his fussy mother.

I am growing a beard.
It is almost grey.

I feel no need of warmth
or recognition. I watch

the light on the marsh,
play my accordion.

I prefer the peace
of irrelevance.

His mother phones his wife.
As a child he had a lazy eye.

He writes: A great
exhaustion is coming.

His wife knows some nights
he’s best ignored.

She married for safety on
the rebound from danger.

Cool, detached, he took
what she could give.

Now there is a stillness,
almost a pause.

We could have left,
she says. He laughs.

It will pass us by.
We will sit it out.

The doors of deception
hang from their hinges.

The flood waters
of anxiety rise.

His accordion sinks
without a sound,

for which she gives
solemn thanks.

She answers no calls,
deletes emails.

If I can’t cope, it’s
nobody’s business.

Mostly, I don’t know
what I’m doing.

Outside, the trees
are left to it.

Moss on the bark
tightens its grip.

Mist crosses
the pale wetlands.

Beneath the mill
eels are trapped.

A plane overhead.
Too low, so loud.

In the distance,
gunfire, rapid.

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