Heart of Stone

The room is dingy now
That once was filled with life
And sounds that lovers make
And of a mother’s labouring.
The walls are the deep maroon
I painted them thirty years ago.
There are obsolete numbers
Scratched on the walls
Of girlfriends – women now
I used to ring at midnight
To drink muscatel
Smoke hash. Have sex.
Then shoo them out at daybreak
Before the kids woke up for school.
Where are they now?
If they remember me
Is it fondly or with bitterness?
Except I hover listening
On the fringe of my funeral –
I guess I’ll never know.
I meant none of them harm.
The dust smothered clutter
Under the bed
Heaped in cupboards
Piled on the floor
Comprised my life.
I stuffed waste bags with tired shirts.
A bunch of ties I never wore.
Underpants and socks.
A rusted gadget (identity unknown – never used)
Broken bits kept ‘just in case’
Heaps of car boot collectables
Filled the bin at break-neck pace.
Goodbye to the past.
Then I lifted the lid of a wooden chest
Unleashing an ‘enormity’ of memory.
A charcoal sketch
Drawn by his mother
Before our love went sour –
My hands holding a new born.
“Your hands, our son.”
He will be a father one day
He will take his child in his hands
It will be his turn,
To make solemn promises
Like I did
Like we all do
And mean to keep…
Thirty years and many lovers since,
He was born in this room
Entering a world of deep maroon
Candlelight and Arvo Pärt,
Tabula Rasa.
I pick up a heart shaped stone
Inscribed  ‘I L Y’
A love token from some girl.
I picture Kendal
The inky rushing of the Kent
The nail file rasping.
I see the hand that gave the stone
And the lips I kissed in return.
The face though…
The face is not there
Nor a name.
So long ago – so far away
Where are they now?
Do they remember me?
I guess I’ll never know.
I guess I’ve given up on love
Or it gave up on me.
A suddenness of
Fond memories
And bitternesses
Washes over me.
I dry my eyes
Telling my reflection,
“You know what?
This too shall pass
Stay in the game.”


© coolhermit 2023
Views: 1180
critique and comments welcome.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Liked your fringe. Enjoyed the read. Albert 🙂


Enjoyed reading this over and over again. Decluttering after a loss. following many years of togetherness, is hard, I know..I was moved by many of your words, thank you for sharing. Be lucky, Peter.

Flag Content