Bed and Breakfast (Old Adelaide Gaol)

Clink the gaol cat, amplifying silence, saunters
past my open cell.   On a self-guided tour she triggers
sensor lights, plays the keys of an invisible keyboard.

The fluoro shudders its arctic light, snaps brittle
the mannequin's gaze.   Ignoring cheap exhibits
of history she wanders out toward the gargoyles.

Stuck beneath turrets their twisted faces protest
the unseen punch, torn by the throat into the after-life,
the head is the crown of a knot, the body a tail

that twitches at first hanging for an hour from eight.
She rolls on the trap, exposes her belly, juggles
a sky of falling fish.   Or sinks her claws

into the burial ground, the necklace of the gaol,
scratches up against the whipping frame.
Please do not play with the ropes or irons.

She wanders back, a high-priestess of a temple
made of stone.   Barely dusk, and now the ghosts,
castellations of courage crumbling.

            *

my cell is a cold oven painted cream

the brow of the doorway set heavy rivets

are perfect welts the bulk of a submarine

slamming the peep hole releases a dark face

framed the globe in my bedside lamp blows

the door wide open my subsequent breath

as a figure waits permission stalled before

the signal bell thrown into my room cursed

to the corner it bemoans the dark the cell door

slams shut on us both the sound of a wrist gnawed

wet for escape desperate to release the vein

            *

My host returns to my cell at six am.   We talk about the night.   I confirm the checkout time before he leads me to breakfast.   I ordered coffee, croissants, fresh-fruit.   I bow my head but he keeps grace brief, then excuses himself for a moment.   I love coffee in the morning and there is time to enjoy it, there really is nothing to pack.  

I have a hunch he's saying prayers outside, so I call him back in for a blessing.   I ask him some questions, give him a letter I wrote, along with a kiss on the cheek.   They bind my arms, lead me onto the trap.   I imagine the jerk of the rope.   My eyes are shut tight because I want this over.   Let me drop into the noose of sleep.  

 

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