IN THE HOLE:
We were led down into a dark hole in the ground,
brutal concrete stained by the rain of nicotine sweat
& beer. They sat us on hard stools, fed us chilli dogs
& fish tea, shined lights in our faces & asked questions.
The walls were luminous & plastic, exposed wires,
naked bulbs, yellowed by smoker’s breath. Their faces
were obscured by light, their questions awkward, invasive,
uncomfortable, returning us to places I was happy to have
left. Then they opened boxes, ransacked attics & foraged
behind radiators, peered beneath sofa cushions, held up
mirrors & asked us to ‘look’.
Pastries & chilled bottled waters served with smiles, yet
always returning to the past. A face, a body, a voice
re-appeared outside, manifested with familiar smile & romance,
as if no time had ever passed between then & now, summoned,
it seems, by the mere mention of the thing in question’s name.
The man on the phone asked me,
“If you were Lord of the Underworld what would you have
I was relieved, it was the easiest of all the questions,
“Good Curry” I answered.