Here’s how I first saw it.
A locomotive, shunted to a side track,
stationary as snow piled onto its running boards
and beside the wheels, drifting in with the twilight;
tracks extending in both directions into
the white expanse. The stationmaster, a silhouette
carrying a tureen from the cottage, steam leaving
a tiny trail that draped itself over the picket fence.
The bed where his lordship lay exactly
like the beds our children slept in years ago,
a single bed against a wall. How many times
did they turn to that wall, as if it were
a screen showing one of those films we used to watch
in the garden, projected onto a sheet; a film
in which they starred in all their hopes and miseries?
I watch as he turns from what I know
must be Anna’s face
conjured from his illness, as it appears to him
in the wallpaper. He turns to stare at me
as I peer in at him from the window,
but his eyes saying
don’t come in. Please don’t come in
his troupe saying
don’t go in. You’re not to go in
but the wind, juggling flurries of snow between
streetlight and darkness, saying
Wait. It will be soon be time.
Commended, Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Competition 2022