The Prisoner

The unspoken warning, the insincere smile
then the slam of the door and the click of the lock.
Footsteps fade away. All is still, for a while,
the silence betrayed by the tick of the clock
and the hiss of the breath I now dare to release.
They are precious, these moments, this lull in my fears
I can almost sustain an illusion of peace.
While still drunk on relief I am full of ideas:
I will transmit a message, I will invent some way
to escape from this place. This is just fantasy;
hope is quickly snuffed out in the wasteland of day.
I reflect on the life that was stolen from me,
peering out at the world through a small window pane
at the Outside, so close, but an alien land
beyond reach, and the sun is now sinking again.
I fear the clock, with its tyrannous hand
bringing closer the time that I cannot endure.
My body is shaking, my pulse, a drumbeat
pounds away in my head as I’m listening for
the faint sound of his car parking up in the street
Then my body’s in spasm, the throbbing of blood,
the sweat on my forehead … once more, he returns,
I recoil at the creak of the gate and the thud
of his feet on the stairs. In the door, a key turns …