At night these lanes are difficult to walk.
Headlights loom up suddenly,
splitting your shadow into two forms
that dash against the hedgerows and separate,
like lovers after a quarrel,
both on a different track,
while one man walks back to his supper
and thinks on that.
Either before or after a fight,
on a country lane at night.
They found asbestos in the old tin shed
and told me it would take thousands to remove.
Yes, but it’s only an old shed, I muttered,
I don’t want it, you can take it away.
The next week masked men came
to the old tin shed and told me
to disturb nothing. My neighbour
had once done that and now lay dead.
One fibre is all it took, they said,
like a bullet to the head, only slower,
It’s funny how something you know so well
can hold the seed of your destruction
like this house, this pen or the face
you knew back when.
Now the old tin shed glowers
from the bottom of the garden,
spiders and mosses have taken over.
This earth is a dangerous place, I said,
and waved them away instead.
that mouse you saw in the hall
turned out to be a rat
admittedly small and docile
but still a rat
when I went in for the kill
it curled up in my palm
puny and piebald
its little pink fingers entwined
its tiny red eyes
watery and so very human
I should strangle it I thought
that’s what you do with rats
but feeling its neck begin to crack
like last Sunday’s chicken bones
I can’t do this I thought
so let it scuttle down the garden path instead
from where black and arched
like a cartoon villain
it turned to leer
now like the sum of all my fears
it will return
and I’ll be waiting