Cold Comforts

Watch how he goes
And sit
In cold, straight-backed chairs
That still smell
Of newly-varnished leather.

He surreptitiously
Checks his watch,
His feet tap, subdued,
On the carpet,
And his fingers buzz a beat of their own.

Time slips by.

Outside the room,
He hears
A jumble of words and beeps,
A white-collared Morse code.
He would learn it soon;
He wants
To be in on the secret.

Note his firm handshake,
Determined to impress.
It is the strong one-two
That he learnt
In etiquette school.

Later, he goes home
And kicks off his shoes,
Checks if it has lost its shine –
It hasn’t –
And retreats to his room.
It is too noisy to think.
They don’t understand
The Morse code.
All they hear
Are their angry sobs and petty screams.
They are weeping
For their lives
In ruin.


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