Nothing fills the space between them
So now he comes face to face with her,
no longer dead and an expectant look
in her pale pale eyes.
Through slanting sun shafts the dust fairies
grow in number and size
until the stairwell fills with moths
which cluster to shape
the words on his breath and
more appear as he opens his mouth.
He knows they must come
but that does nothing to temper
the dry delicate horror of it.
Moth words fill the space between them
Gently palpating each letter as the outpouring slows,
spitting out the last moth stuck to his withering lips,
he reads the hovering words,
‘Do not confront me with my failures,
I have not forgotten them.’
Not even his own. Borrowed, old, moth-eaten
cloth words smelling gently of burnt hair
Waving a weak hand through them
the words disperse, the beloved also fades,
the motes rearrange themselves,
drift through the sunslats
then appear to disappear.
Frank McHugh is from the west coast of Scotland. He teaches and writes poetry in both Scots and English, as well as songs, short fiction and plays. His poetry has been published in Acumen Poetry, New Writing Scotland, The Glasgow Review of Books, SurVision, Bonnie’s Crew and The Runt. One of his poems was named as highly commended at the Imprint Writing awards 2016.