I spied it in your eyes, caught grey
and wistful and dangerous
spluttering I pulled, pulled
as if trying to clear a flooded engine,
and keenly with my ear I listened for a gag
or else something guttural
that meant life.

The hum of silence
seemed unnatural
the anxious throes, rigid, worried,
in our home-made mausoleum
to the sickly notes
of some stranger’s laughter-
my ears flat to skull in hot flesh
truth whistled soaring past
in that vacuum I heard the answer
but I couldn’t understand a word.