Sestina

Down the lane walks tired Jack
Towards his waiting Jill
Whose weary eyes gaze out the window
Ears filled with the rattling of the heater
Jack walks in; Jill says ‘my love it is quite late’
His lips brush her cheek, ‘I am going to bed’

Jill follows him to their bed
And sits, waiting to embrace her Jack
But at the feel of her touch he says ‘it’s late’
And soon the only one lying awake is Jill
Whose wide eyes shine in the light from the window
In the little house warmed by the heater

Jack wakes in the morning and stands over the heater
His wife Jill he has left in bed
He greets the new day outside the window
And as he steps out the door he hears her call ‘Jack!’
He smiles at her, says ‘good morning, Jill’
She ignites with love and calls ‘go on, you’ll be late!’

That night the wind whispers late late late
But still Jill waits in her seat by the heater
A voice in her head shouts you silly girl, Jill
Why don’t you just go to bed?
But then her heart leaps as she catches sight of Jack
Walking towards her from beyond the window

Something isn’t quite right with the scene in the window
And not simply because he is so late
His smile is empty; he looks nothing like her Jack
As he begins to talk he stares blankly at the heater
Words break her heart, but she says ‘let’s go to bed,’
‘I’m sorry,’ he turns to leave, ‘goodbye Jill’

In the house down the lane sits Jill
Who has nailed down each window
She lies alone in the big empty bed
The clock on the table tells her it’s late
The house is filled with leaking gas from the heater
Takes her away from the world as she cries out ‘oh, Jack!’

In another house elsewhere lives a man called Jack
Whose new wife asks him to fix the heater
Rattling brings another face to mind, but oh Jack, it is too late.

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