Carol Ann Duffy

Ink on Paper

The heart is placid. The wireless makes
a slow movement to shape the invisible.
On the table, apples imitate an old motif;
beyond them, through the window, gulls applaud
the trees. Something has happened. Clouds
move away, superior and bored. A cigarette
fumes in a brown clay ashtray, ignored.

A dark red armchair with no one in it
waits patiently. Empty wet wellingtons
warm ghost-legs at the gas fire. There is
the sound of a woman’s voice crying
on the other side of the door and the smell
of onions frying. Beneath the chair, an umbrella
half-exists. Behind the curtains, glass, rain.

This bowl of fruit obstinately refuses
to speak the language. Pink vain peaches
remain aloof in late night. The grapefruit
will only be yellow as long as anyone looks.
In the other bowl, two goldfish try harder.
Unwatched, the man watches the cat, watching.
An orange is more still than the near-silence.