That boat you see, tourist in this land of travellers, 
claims it once brought clay urns to Pithacusæ,  
to store wine and grain, and sometimes babies, stillborn, 
slipped into those cold second wombs by silent husbands… 

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If you’re going to Rome
there’s a glove shop there,
not far from the Spanish Steps…

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Like trees diseased in spring that heal
and bud again before autumn…

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        Beneath
lizard bellies of planes… 

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I read the scrap of paper
torn from a homework book,
red- margined, turquoise - ruled,
headed Wanted Back ASAP…

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I might have met you there, windows for our back-drop,
a blood-orange sun, a burning sea, and me…

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I watch them diminish in rooms 
sweet with straw-matting, heads 
bent to candle and winter-light; 
Elizabeth, Nan, Grace, 
Lettice, plying hare-bells, pansies…

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The stain is still there 
where you and the dogs come in… 

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Tap, tap, tapping 
I wait
between bed and chair…

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