The Debussy Bus Stop


Everything breaks sooner or later: keys, kettles, musical boxes, the clay hare on the mantelpiece. Out of habit, I carry the keys for all the houses I’ve left behind, and though I no longer remember which would fit which lock, there’s a kind of security in the weight that presses into my thigh. I consider them as ballast as I tip slightly to pour just-boiled water on green tea, listening to the coiled melody of Clair de Lune as it slows like a cross-country bus at a small town where no one will get on or off. There’s a café but it’s closed. There’s a newsstand with nothing but local papers and word searches. The engine stops but ticks with cooling as the last notes draw themselves out into everything that sounds like distance. I blow on steam and the world ripples. Through the kitchen window, a bus crosses a landscape I don’t recognise, trucking an orchestra to another show; and out across the car park a hare waits for whatever it is that hares crave. If I could find the back door key, I’d call it over, invite it in for green tea, or just to take the weight off its slim clay legs. Sooner or later it will all break, but for now I’ll wind the musical box one more time, fill my head with Debussy and roads to half-remembered houses.



Oz Hardwick is a European poet and dabbler in diverse arts, whose work has been published and performed internationally in and on diverse media. His most recent collection is The Lithium Codex (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2019).