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a sour old man smell

to the interior,

distilled resentment

and stale urine.

the house is triple glazed

against all invaders,

fresh air, friends and the future.

the curtains never drawn

but heaters on full blast.


he shivers, feels the cold,

not to mention

the years of holding

everyone at bay,

never letting anyone in.


he dwells on grievances,

the grist of them sustains him,

nurtured by decades of distrust,

trodden into the very fabric of his soul.

his paranoia a corrosive acid

that has eaten through to the bone.


he’s isolated, keeper

of a lighthouse,

long decommissioned,

its lonely beacon obsolete.

he stands guard at the window

and watches all the neighbours come and go,

their cars and kids and trips away

as if his own personal TV show.


Photo of lighthouse at St Joseph’s, Michigan by Belinda