Poetry

I would love an apple orchard

I would love an apple orchard,
with goats kept at bay by a fence,
with pigs, snout-ringed, allowed
to sample the windfall fruit

only, not my perfect darlings,
hanging ripe from heavy, drooping
branches, waiting for a hand
to appreciate them, like I surely

would, if an orchard were mine―
but I’m old, and it’s too late now
to plant stake-bound saplings in land
I do not even have a lease to own.

So, there’ll be no late evening
dalliance with the fruit of Eves,
just apples enough from one tree
planted, wisely, many years ago.

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Poetry

Debt free

You’ve written
that because it’s my birthday
you’ll do all my work for me
for a day a week

if you’re referring in your promissory note
to the dishes I wash
you’re not tall enough to reach the sink

and I’m not sure just yet
that I’ll trust you with a hot element

and while you’re strong
I know you’ll struggle to push a lawnmower

so how about
I accept your promise
knowing it doesn’t need to be kept

because you’ve already done your best work:
the work that matters,
the work we do for each other

when there are no debts
or promises.

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Poetry

Murderers are coming

 

murderers are coming
can it be true?
when are they due?

should we drop everything?
wipe the floor?
stand back in awe?

should we put on a show?
the kids are in bed,
the carpet is red

what have we done?
they say they’ll protect us
—who’s going to object?

should we change the sheets?
make it nice?
put the champagne on ice?

who’s going to speak?
should we make a toast?
enlist the Holy Ghost?

what do they want?
should we sign a deal?
ask them how it feels?

they’re coming through the gate
—what shall we call them?
our very good friends?

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Poetry

From Pandora’s box

Last night I dreamt that Elpis had left
the box, and was dancing without favour
house to house: a lilting promenade, a teasing
piqué tour, a pirouette each time she crossed

the centreline. And one thousand faces,
passed it and before their prime, leaning
out of windows, trying to draw her in
with pleading eyes; knowing what was lost.

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Poetry

I’m an unknown tulip seller

I

I’m an unknown tulip seller
wasting along empty streets
delivering sweet-scent bouquets
to locked-down city doors.

II

Why did I take this chance
to walk away? I remember still
that night; the shooting stars
shot through our wilted hearts.

III

I place a weak-stemmed flower
in the deserted square, a gift
for you, with a note which says,
“Take my offering of regrets.”

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