15:20 backlit wisps and railroad tracks in the sky. flashes of starlings’ wingtips. I look at the river too long, and now see it every time I blink.

15:24 the twittering of daybreak returns in earnest. the birds make sunday’s last stand.

15:30 a flock of black stars before the sun, they settle on the ghosts of trees.

15:32 visibly darker by the second. chattering birds swoop to aerial perches. I spot the crescent moon.

15:33 the horizon goes a dirty orange, over my head remains purest blue.

15:35 the sun loses intensity. I can now look at it through the branches, trees stark against golden glow.

15:37 lone starlings. the sun is but a glow. paintbrush clouds, the colour of day-old snow.

15:40 river reverting to sludge green. the sun is but a memory uplighting lazy long-drawn- out clouds. the day’s first wood fire on the breeze.

15:42 the last dog walkers on the dike. orange and blue and yellow. sadness creeps into my heart.

15:46 the birds are relentless, but tiring. the last light is scattered on the river, weak now, blown on the breeze.

15:49 as one, the birds fall silent. I can hear every ripple on the river. backlit clouds give rise to ufo myths.

15:52 first hints of purple. horizon could be on fire.

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15:56 clouds now thick black smoke. horizon might actually be on fire.

15:59 darkened clouds swirl like enormous slow-motion tornado. can’t feel my toes.

16:01 moon now dominant celestial body. first lights on the cathedral go on. two silhouettes paddle upstream towards me.

16:04 rooftops outlined in pink. shepherd’s delight. soft greys, baby blues. melancholy.

16:08 third hundred-strong flock of dots in as many minutes. sky above me maintains purity, darkens somewhat.

16:10 sky smudged. lights go on in cottages. only a thin band of red remains. trees the colour of tar.

16:11 toes aching. sunday’s last rays, black clouds tinged with pink, smoke tinged with beauty.

16:13 first star. smell of dinner. want to leave, but pink grows in intensity, almost orange in places.

16:19 pink fading to yellow. grey creeping back in. sky loses intensity. hunger sets in.

16:20 it’s been an hour. single bird perched on telegraph wire against dying pink. wisps of cloud haven’t moved in half an hour. beautiful pink reverts to grey. bare trees. time to go in.

 

 

Oliver Cable was born to English parents in Holland and currently lives in London. In the ten years since writing his first poem, he’s written short-form poetry and prose, inspired and influenced by jazz, travel and the absurdity of daily life. After a Creative Writing course at UEA, he turned his hand to writing longer pieces. His debut novel, Fresh Air And Empty Streets, is out now. The photos here are also his.

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