Darkroom

by Robert Kennedy

Once familiar objects turn hostile
In this cubic void of dark space.
Bloodless hands reach from angular sleeves,
My throat throbbing in jugular terror.
Feet, ready to kick,
Are tensed somewhere
On hard muscles.

Surfaces are hardened by the inky air
Flattened against the invisible wall.
Acute desperation is fanned
By an upward growth from the floor.

I know the room can be switched
Back to friendliness again,
But the switch is superimposed
On nothing. My hands frisk an
Invisible gown my own exhalations.
If I could only find the door,
I could kick it really hard.

Keys invade the lock, and with a jar,
The bed, the chair
And I take a step back,
Insipid, sickly, older
In the punishing, grey light.

The warder sees only stagnant remnants
Of order: a glass, a crust, blank paper.
I turn from his question to my sleep,
To the narrow envelope
Of my bed
And its beckoning black.