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Prairie Schooner 80.2 (2006) 96-97

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At a Distance, and: At Twyford Station

At a Distance

Bags ballooned by air gave no clue
other than the names of supermarkets
and besides, who could tell the precise one
he'd carried – contents now dotting the field
behind his house, indistinguishable at a distance
from daisies, the broken bread that never
reached the ducks.

His tight-lipped wife was no help at first
but from somewhere reluctantly brought to us
his diary petering out at the word philamort,
its definition the colour of a dead leaf
hurriedly handwritten. Also the word candy
which we took to be a name.

What photographs there were of him
out of focus, grainy, are as if he were
practising, as if, smelling of peppermints
or woodsmoke, he moves now somewhere
in a socket of sand. [End Page 96]

At Twyford Station

The bicycles are parked like lovers
turned intimately towards each other.
Fresh rain has sweated finely onto the carriage window.
A breeze frees the roses from their flat chintz sleep.
The engine, which has been practising clearing its throat,
turns itself off. We are all between chapters, articles,
waiting to turn the page, eager to fall in love
with this widening calm.
Beneath its surface even the rubbish
speared into the station-master's clear plastic sack
lies like emerald seaweed, sea anenomes.
Joan McGavin's poem, "Gingko," was read on BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please.



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