“Tectonic” by Alicia Bryne Keane

I sleep at the furthest corner of the house
I wake to the click of footsteps outside
And cold air fogging my phone screen

I dream alternative pasts for myself
A holiday to a cottage somewhere;
A smattering of faceless friends, and
Fights that never happened.

I wake up mid sentence
I wake up crying
I wake up to a whirring laptop fan
And the stalled screen
Of some film noir long-ended:
I like the swells of music
When characters kiss.

The roads around here
Turn into a moonscape at dawn:
Flatblocks standing at angles
The colour of bones and teeth,
Stabs of streetlight flare
Against powderblue sky
Make you squint.

Look out, to where the city
Turns to purple mountain;
Watch clouds reflected
On glasswalled buildings,
The shifting patterns
Like mother of pearl

Imagine the world beyond
Moving too fast, think yourself
Across the sea, to relatives
Friends you knew from college
In New York apartment kitchens

You can’t predict anything,
Can you.

Sit on a bench
Under the bluish blush
Of thicket shade
And pretend there is just yourself,
And this carpet of yellow leaves
Ringed with mud
From day-old footprints.

The quiet helps
At times like this
The uncertain winter;
The deep, foundational shift.

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