Two dreams

At the intersection of concrete platforms
where pedestrian flyovers converged
and plate-glass windows drew blanks
on the sun’s insistence, you emerged
from the campus-loving crowd
and said ‘This door’.

We made it through to somewhere
almost recognised: book stacks
flashed like so many blank spaces
in a Zoetrope. You insisted
that I hadn’t seen it all.

Around what looked like a lift shaft,
tentative borrowers pulled out
hard spines, hopeful cases.
Below us, contending zealots stood,
uttering the codices
of their various religions.
We heard their whispers
in the silences left behind
by the books whose titles we withdrew.

A grey wood. Predictable.
The First World War.
I might be either of my grandfathers.
At this point, I am about to tell
my comrades that I’m going
for a stroll. The elms
define the horizon
like lost opportunities.
I walk. When I return,
my bed’s been made:
not a sign of trouble.
The sergeant lumbers up
blocks out what's left of the light:
‘And where the fuck have you been?’

September 2011