People say it’s the hollow they live in,
built beneath the mountain
immovable, but he goes home anyway
even on days such as this
when the small animal of his body
scents the spoor of his getaway.
He inches his way through the door
to where she sits curtained from the bright,
all picture and no sound.

He tilts a ladder to the sky
slinks his limbs low to the slates
on his climb to the aerial,
not knowing which part to adjust
so that it will deliver something
more than static from her eyes
that have devoured
the little pieces of him first
his going out with the lads
nothing but a pint or two in a chaffering bar,
then the odd football game,
the wood turning class,
spalted beech curls in his hair.

He wavers at the apex of her salt silence
trying to balance what he’s done, not done
or what he should
to shield himself from the scald of her blind mouth
the smoke from the chimney.