Perched on the arm, afraid to sit down
in the sofa’s depths, a book to hand
Around, the sounds of crumpled paper,
the pound of cardboard knocked into shape,
the rip of tape binding the base.
Thumps as books land in boxes, their order
The ceiling pounds with bangs and cracks,
boxes filled fast, dispassionately.
I boil the kettle, make mugs of tea.
Early morning the truck arrives, like a creature
grown on the road outside, like a hungry whale.
The doors yawn open and a ramp slides down
like a tongue.
I perch on the edge of the garden wall,
watch furniture lurching towards the door.
I swear I hear a strand of Haydn
as the piano rolls in, and the table finds
its place beside the empty bookcase.
Around the garden I stop for a word
with each familiar plant; glance up to the bird box,
empty now in the silver birch.
The lawn is mown, edges clipped,
the shed stands empty, cobwebs swept.
From the road the clang of doors closing
tolls its ending.
We wave to the men, see you soon at the other end!
The engine roars and fades into birdsong.
We turn to look our last from the door
then close it. Hear its familiar click.
The keys beyond reach on a hook inside.
We drive away for the last time
not looking to either side
not looking behind.