Perhaps I traded something at the door.
I may have met a man
with sulphur in his smile, persuasive, keen
to do a deal — my youth perhaps — as new
(well only used the once) on offer for
a trifle, scarcely missed and rarely seen
— it’s tarnished too.
Maybe I agreed.
Years shrivel and retreat — In here I share
a space with changeless, waiting faces where
an ageless emperor feeds pigeons. Here
I’m uniformed and eighteen and on leave.
And there are certainties out there.
I turn, return to time and pass the place
where deals are sometimes sealed and see my face
stare back from unrelenting glass. And then
I know the trade has failed, my waiting soul
moves in and scolds me still and I am old —