The Town Hall



Smoke mingles with dresses
Scent stitched into black fabric
With the clink of cocktail glasses
In time with midnight chiming clocks
He's all eyes, nonchalant but holding a hint of thirst
Watching from the grand balcony
Her amber set slowly align to meet his
Vixen smile cast up towards the incandescent light

The cloakroom serves as more than just a temporary home
To fox-fur scarves, leather gloves and winter coats
Dust seeps through the floorboards
Coating thicker the worn leather chairs
Discarded beneath, alongside aging names
Scrawled upon the wooden skeleton of walls
The building shuffles and creaks before letting out a loving sigh
And settling once again
 
A drink slips slow motion from her petite hand
Spiraling as it descends
And shattering upon impact
An olive wades through the
miniature lake of liquor
Before disappearing under a dresser
Her head pulled back almost malevolently
Exposing a strongly perfumed neck
Veins pulsing thick beneath porcelain skin
Barely several minutes later
Her body collides with the floor with a heavy thud
His weight pushing down her writhing body
Shards dig deeper with every thrust
Pain threshold increases alongside a waltz time heartbeat
Mouth falls open crimson lipstick smeared
And eyelids flicker shut like a dying moth

I have stood on that stage
Where phantom bands once played
As a pale child in a pantomime
And as a mime, screaming out at an empty room
One fall I stumbled across remnants of her vague memory
Entwined in celluloid reel
Hidden inside a forlorn trunk,
Belonging to a widowed room
That reeked of the ghosts of last century
That town was left many years ago
But I still feel him on the colder nights
Coalesced and as strong a part of me now
As the childhood days I spent alone
Wandering the haunts of the old town hall


First appeared in the online literary magazine Danse Macabre (USA)