Simmon Tan


At the time... Poem by Simmon Tan


A car pulled up, in front of a house, at four o'clock in the morning.
A man came out of the car, and stood in silence in the dark, dark dark.
Quiet as a mouse, a woman came out of the house, opened the gate and walked into a garbage bin, making a godawful clattering.

Drowsy neighbours, across the road, peeked out
from behind the nosy curtains of their boring bedroom.
But nothing happened, while the clouds moved on,
and the frail moonlight was well again.

Under a blanket of glittering stars, she handed him two suitcases
and he hurried 'round to open the boot but just then,
the toilet lights on the second floor came on.

The neighbours behind the curtains froze like statues.
Swiftly, the man and the woman crouched down behind the car.
In the quiet of the night, they could all hear the urine
gurgling long, loud and plenty into the toilet bowl.

Behind the car, the man and the woman started
groping and kissing and groping and kissing furiously.
The neighbours saw them do it by the light of the moon and stars.

When the toilet flushed, they quietly shut the boot,
tiptoed to the front, got into the car,
and the roar of the car engine died away.

The neighbours closed the curtains. Didn't say much.
Ate sandwiches and milk. Still couldn't sleep.
Started to make love loudly, as if to drown out forever
the drunken snoring beginning again
across the road.

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

(1989)

Submitted: Saturday, April 16, 2011
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