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The reader

               The garden has gone
to seed. Where are the dancers now
               the salon is stripped
by antique dealers? This villa
               almost illustrates
a poem in a school reader

               left in a café
at lunch-time. The waitress claims it—
               twenty-five, not bad
but fond of polishing apples
               until they are bruised.
She wants to play in the garden;

               her lover must taste
breath fresh as a plum in the chill
               morning brings. But then…
the wind will turn, this house burn down
               and gladioli
cover its ruins. She smells them

               as she clears tables.

15.11.1988, Church Square, Christchurch

 


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