Awake with fire in my throat,
sure Gehenna had come.
voicebox wrapt in lava,
glued to sheets in dread,
as if this was the call from Eternity.
Whenever the monster had been raised in conversation,
I whispered lowly
‘This night won’t fall on me.’
How dare this hour call out my time,
now mattered more than all the dreams:
it was the death of a Promised Land,
abandoned in Grendel’s mother’s cave.
Surely such a fall from grace
could not be vested in Santa’s wake?
How can I tell the others
Christmas has perished?
My seat on the train is booked,
the Covid carriage locked,
and no return ticket.
Mouthfuls of water from an ensuite tap,
undiluted phlegm burning.
Nightmare of Dresden, Hiroshima.
It’s no good fighting this gift.