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The Witness


The Witness

The bench outside my window, chaperoned by sagacious sycamore, earringed in green papery bits, scrutinized by a moon, misted in tears because it is no longer seen, bears witness to fumblings. Fumblings of need, lust, breaking, and fixing.

A grey-haired, red-faced human being struggling to control shaking hands, manages a crumpled brown bag from inside his stinking duffle coat. If you listen well enough, you can hear the bench sigh with relief, that at least this man is warm, even if he doesn’t have a home.

The neck of the bottle soothes crushing appetites like nipple or penis. Cigarette begged for, he moves on talking to the river into a chastening wind.

His arm crawls along her shoulder in a moment seized with expectancy. Her face is turned towards the East for the sun to rise. His furtive hand seeks refuge on a shaking thigh, sliding his fingers towards an inner warmth.

If you listen well enough, you can hear the bench sigh with sadness at the pinkness. As a tear for lost years hangs from her nose…frozen for a moment, she turns West, unzips, and her head sinking Southwards, she sets off on a familiar journey.

A couple, a troubled man and an anxious woman seek refuge from drizzly rain under a stoic sycamore and rest their heavy … weary hearts on an empty, but overloaded bench.

If you listen well enough, you can hear the bench sigh in anticipation; at least they are holding each other. Long, cool fingers stroke trembling chin. Her mouth motions that her love is dead, and slides their commitment from her left cool hand as if playing an adagio for strings. Kissing her emptied mouth for the last time, they walk out of each others’ lives.

In the first rush of morning, a hooded youth running, stumbling as he looks backward breathlessly over his shoulder, collapses into the unrelenting reality of a bench under a sympathetic sycamore dressed in daylight.

If you listen well enough, you will hear the bench sigh in desperation that at least this boy has saved his own life. Bitten fingernails clawing, to dig out the cigarette burns from his cheek.

He buries an unslept face beneath sheltering armpit as he beats bruised fist against bruised thigh, reliving the torment inflicted upon him by the serial invasion of space between the hills of his buttocks.

Hearing the whine of a distant police car, meant for him, he makes a run for it towards the bridge made of eyes.

Then when the bench has gone and there’s nothing between me, the river and the paint store, whose colour changes lives, if you listen well enough you might still hear the sighing of the bench … THE WITNESS!

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