After Bosie had gone, quiet came back,
the air composed itself, a torpor
visited, unannounced. He laughed
silently, looking as if he snarled
or grimaced at some distant thing
he recognised at last
as quite despicable, as it was beautiful,
not caring which it was.
Cheap brandy, and a few of Bosie’s cigarettes
lasted into sunset, watched
from just inside, his chair drawn near
to windows on the balcony.
At his back the room darkened,
shadows like bruises coming out.
He wouldn’t speak, all that he felt
could only be expressed
in that mute laughter, like the view
some pitiless, unillusioned god might have
watching him in silence
from the doorway to another life.
He wouldn’t let go of it,
this choking suicide: he might mistake
the ruins for the house.
That laugh, splitting open again,
its stained teeth in the dark.