Maggie Butt

Top Of The Empire State

Manhattan’s lights spread out below –
this firework show of wealth and power
outburns the feeble stars. But watch
their flickering from this high tower

and know that each breathes its own life:
last girl to leave her office sighs
and cuts the lights; while vest-clad man
in gloomy kitchen rubs his eyes

opens his empty fridge and blinks;
drunk clubbers, frantic megawatt,
flash out their neon mating signs;
soft night-lights shimmer round a cot;

old couple doze within the blue
of TV screen – can’t stay awake;
flushed, sticky-fingered six-year-old
blows out the candles on her cake.

A glowing web of living lights,
though most have never brightly shone,
un-valued till you mark their loss
dark windows where the flame has gone.