L’esprit de l’escalier

You think of it while, say,

lying in bed on a dry-mouthed Monday morning,

eyes open, quietly hoping for a kind death,


the hour, the week, the month

moving forward,

unforgivably, oh jesus.


Again, at work, the sun behind you

reflecting on your computer monitor,

opaque, relentless —


and again,

when cheating Inland Revenue

becomes rote;


or when the sun in the afternoon,

sad and frightening,

filters through the bedroom curtains.


You can’t help but feel it

when the cat’s bowels give out,

and you know, suddenly, you’ve been ludicrously wrong.


All of it

just an animal cunning

that gets its way.