The Cache

it was a discovery
that afternoon
sun crossing the room
dust-motes floating gold
day off  
day on working DIY

and you said, OK, ceiling now?
we both looked up
sagging polystyrene
had to go
the first one
came in a rush 
broken plaster and dust

white-faced and blinking
gritty-tongued we tried again
then they all came
together, sworn to stick
edge to edge and never yield
to intervention

spitting, dust choking
our throats, we croaked,
looked up at the battens
one foot down from a beautiful
and ornately carved ceiling
with deep cornicing 
a profusion of grapes and stems -
the square, ugly frame
secreting beauty behind it -
we exchanged looks
looked up again

as the stour settled
and the corners cleared
the sun picked-on 
a colour

a ladder did it
your fingers plucked it from
a wooden niche high, high
out of reach

descended slow, slow
we both looked down:
a purple tin with crimson
roses round the rim

I prised the lid:
a single page folded
small and neat

we exchanged looks
looked down again -
barely a rustle as you
picked it out

the room was quiet
the sun streamed in
dust settling

a faint crackling and we read
the opened, thick black lines
written edge to
edge in long, straight letters
boxed by the folds of the page

old, black words -
incantation of explicit
rage - the black ink
poured thick and strong
and coldness settled in the room
the sun went in
the dust was gone
greying into the floor
but the air had become

we shivered
glanced quickly
over our shoulders
as if someone
had opened the door
entered the room
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