The Cupboard


My lover keeps me in a cupboard.
I’ve no complaints. There’s room enough,
on my own, high, private shelf,
to stretch myself out for the hours, the days,
the weeks of muffled waiting
that he requires of me. He puts
a finger to his lips, raises his eyebrows
archly and, without a further word,
shuts the door. Hearing it click,
I make a pillow of my hands, adjust
my hip to the unyielding board,
prepare to sleep. Sometimes I wake
to voices on the other side –
of business colleagues, friends,
even his wife – or that most plaintive cry
of a phone in an empty office.
But such interludes soon pass, and I
return to my pharaonic rest.
Outside of sleep, I like the small hours best,
when it can be hard to tell the night city’s
unceasing traffic from the rumble of blood
in my own head. Then, in the stale dark,
I know I have the patience and the power
to win this long game. The world and my waiting
are one and the same.

from The Curiosities, unpublished poems, © Christopher Reid 2013, used by permission of the author.

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