the clammy claw of winter

has taken hold once more,

colour drains from the carapace

and immobile stands the crooked limb

 

whose gift is neither shelter nor shade

but a shadow that stalks

like a gathering storm

that refuses to break.

 

put another nickel in

in the nickelodeon

 

sunken as marionettes,

how it stirs, the world beyond

these heavy-lined drapes,

quietly drawn and pitted

 

by the bloody quick of fingers

that slip with the scree,

down to the deep

of the inky black tarn.

 

put another nickel in

in the nickelodeon

 

swollen banks of morning burst

and nets thrown to the day ahead,

massing shoals of events on the tide

weigh like an anchor stone,

 

ruffled silt-bed of troubled sleep

clouds the surging swell of dawn,

braided and torqued, time

slumps back into night.

 

put another nickel in

in the nickelodeon

 

that silent knell both balms and burns,

its stillness like a stain

that spreads across fields,

where the blue and black sky

 

skates upon the ice

and swallows fly low and late,

as if our presence

had in some way been affirmed.

 

 

 

January 2014

NICKELODEON

Les Roberts 2014