late-night window guilt


i cross the empty courtyard,
sore feet tripping
over icy flagstones.
i try not to think of the journey home.
i push it to the back of my mind,
letting the pain in my feet
become a welcome distraction.
a dark, leafy corridor
prologues the final stretch,
lit only by the havening glow
of the late-night windows,
light striped
by the threat
of the heavy gates.
there i stand, heart pattering.
the windows are empty as i wait,
it must be after one now.
i have not brought my watch.
somewhere in the park,
a bird calls.
i listen for its mate’s response,
and it comes quickly.
i feel a pang of odd jealousy,
longing to have one
who beats in time with me,
and holds their breath
to hear the sound of mine.
and here you are,
there you are,
at the window.
a lifetime passes
between your shadow in the glass
and the hot touch
of your hand on my skin,
and in the darkness
my heart screams
in its guilt.


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