Howard Firkin
The day assumes an eeriness, the light
dims, drops a watt or two, the colours flatten,
sky stains like water spilt on dirty satin,
and I wait for my one thought to ignite:
Does anybody know that I’m alive?
The birds excite the air. The trees respond
to wind. Call and response. All matter finds
its purpose colouring within the lines.
Why did I think I’d get to live beyond
the means to any end and still arrive?

Where everybody else has got a beat,
I’ve got a number. And it’s running out.
I start to count the footfalls on the street.
I start to wonder what this poem ’s about.