Endless Moment

Matthew Harrison

Endless Moment

This is the moment when you know you’re caught.
Nothing has changed: outside, the sun still shines;
still cooling here, the coffee you just bought,

yet a subtle sense tinges all the signs.
A man has glanced at you from by the door.
Nothing has changed; outside, the sun still shines

but you are known, friendless, beneath the law,
and if you greet others you will harm them.
A man has glanced at you from by the door.

That simple click from which all troubles stem
has marked you, caught the Authority’s eye,
and if you greet others you will harm them.

You raise your mug and sip, at least to try
for nonchalance, though your heart’s rapid beat
has marked you, caught the Authority’s eye.

You sit, numb to the hardness of your seat;
eternity in an hour, time dilates
for nonchalance, though your heart’s rapid beat

betrays you. They’re coming, they’re at the gates.
This is the moment when you know you’re caught.
Eternity in an hour, time dilates.
till cooling here, the coffee you just bought.

_______________

Matthew Harrison lives in Hong Kong, and whether because of that or some other reason entirely he is currently reliving a boyhood passion for science fiction. He has published numerous short SF pieces in Bards and Sages, The Colored Lens, Aurealis, Andromeda Spaceways and elsewhere, and is building up to longer ones as he learns more about the universe. Matthew is married with two children but no pets as there is no space for these in Hong Kong. Matthew Harrison, Hong Kong Author

Editor’s Notes: The author said this is a “Terzanelle – a bit like Villanelle, but perhaps more subtlety in the line repetition/variation.” Actually, this is a variation of it because of an additional tercet. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terzanelle or The  Drury, John (2006). The poetry dictionary. Writer’s Digest. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-58297-329-6.

The jail image (by Nico Teitel) appears in an article on the opioid crisis. (https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9kebnp/americas-jails-are-pretending-the-opioid-crisis-doesnt-exist)

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