AIRSTRIKES

by Luke Otley

I watched the last of yesterday
bleed off the river
to the tones of trumpet
and cymbal;
the reeds were still,
and my hand hung to my side,
sifting soil and stone
through forefinger and thumb
silently
as the sky dripped away
like pale yolk off china.

A moment passed,
then a car alarm erupted,
shattering the mystery of the night
and the magic of the moment
with a grinding wail
that turned my tongue tender,
as if my cheeks
were packed with ice,
and my thoughts swam
towards crumbling shores,
and air-strikes,
and sun baked brick
and bone and blood.

I hoped
that soon
the sounds would stop,
and my hope
was so desperate, so instinctive,
it was the type of hope only an infant knows
when his nose is cold
and wet and blowing bubbles
into pitch black tarmac.