Carole Coates

Leaving the job

But, they say, don't you miss it and you answer no:
not those long dusty halls where the rain makes a noise
or the sun makes a smoke in the air through windows too high to look out;
nor the bored convoys or casual detachable greetings
when your own words fall on the floor with a small dismal sound like rain;
nor the notice you pin to the wall which you suddenly see has gone blank
and you wonder what your message was and why you thought it important
while back in your room the air has been breathed in and out by the whole institution.

But, they say, what do you do, and as always, it's hard
to say what you mean, to convey just one statement or feeling.
Tell them about the tree you saw in November,
alone in a field on a still blue day in November,
leaves just ready to drop but they do not drop.
Each leaf is an indrawn breath as red as a pomegranate,
or rather, the colour of pomegranates, which is not exactly red.
You can walk round this tree in your head all day if you want. Tell them that.

from The Goodbye Edition, Shoestring Press, 2005

© 2005 Carole Coates

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Last updated 13 December 2012