Poetry: Lying with the Ghosts of Berlin | clivejames.com
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Lying with the Ghosts of Berlin

Tonight is the longest night of the year.
We lie, patient with the seasons
in the glow of street lamps,
beneath the outlines of things
that could be ours, some other time.

To the sound of snow falling,
we must sleep, again and again
like diving into the soft centre
of each life we might have had.

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year -
a pale wing that beat just once
then fell into the twilight of three o’clock.
The snow has settled. We can hear it breathe.

I say we but I see no one.
The neighbour upstairs has gone skiing.
The people across have turned off the light
in their room. The rest of the street is a museum.
I lie on the slab of my bed, whispering:

Whoever else is here now
will be here tomorrow.
They are measuring the beats
of my remaining blood.
They quietly know something

I am afraid to ask.