This the subatomic beat of unrecorded time
That accommodates infinity
And where all may be accomplished or undone:

The fraction of a fraction of an inch
Between the fugitive’s foot and the treacherous twig
The curious outstretched finger and the flame;

The millionth of a millionth of a moment
Before two fenders touch, the rope gives way
The bullet strikes, the dagger’s tip breaks skin;

The last chance of a last chance to decide
To burn the letter, cap the pen
Bite back the fateful word.

A house of cards, a coin stood on its edge.
We hold our breath, dare not move
And pray for night to end.


I wrote this piece after walking the dog the other night, following the latest round of stomach-churning, heart-in-mouth votes in the House of Commons that could have propelled us headlong out of the European Union this time next week. (It might still happen, of course, but it’s becoming increasingly pointless trying to follow events in Westminster, much less predict them.) N.

One thought on “Pause

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