‘Bonjour Tristesse’ by Roy Marshall


Draw the blind on roofs of vein-blue lead.
Your heart will beat through spine, chest, nipple
and neck, send dream down your vertebrae.

Sleep, as morning sun founds an empire
of shadow around the fountains of the Tuileries,
a tide of shutters recede from patisseries,

the canary’s eyes blink open on the balcony,
a stray lifts a leg beside the diplomat’s Mercedes
and a bus leaves the depot empty, except

for a suspension of motes. Sleep, as nurse’s shoes
clap down a polished corridor, through the last long breath
of an actress from the sixties, her cheekbones

high under a web of capillaries. Sleep, through
twisting ribbons of coffee, a snowstorm of croissant
flakes, pipes that pulse and vibrate to the shower head.

Sleep, while salesmen yawn in air-conned cars,
as a mop slaps the marble floor of the ministry,
while bottles shoal from bin to dustcart, spilt,

like your tears, in the head of a lover who
at dawn became an ex, as he climbs the steps
to sit and smoke under a clock of stone.

Roy Marshall’s work has been accepted for publication by magazines such as Ambit, Poetry Wales, The Manchester Review and The Rialto. His pamphlet Gopagilla was published in 2012, and a full collection The Sun Bathers (Shoestring, 2013) was shortlisted for the Michael Murphy award. Roy has previously been a nurse and now works in adult education.