I bought the Russian girls breakfast
so poor they were from work,
and coming down the hill pretended
a little English for the couple seeking
Matisse and Chagall. Later, the crepe maker
told me I’d been churlish in keeping secrets,
but then no taste of banana enveloped me
at the olive oil distillery as it was supposed to.
(Apparently the Canadians pick it every time.)
I’d sat on a rickety pew before the stained glass
and piano. And surrounded by suspended lovers,
the magic of goats, colours that strained,
to hold their surging fancy, could think only
of the elongated eucalyptus leaf. How perfect
the Art Deco reverse teardrop, the teasing
smelling salts of home in the curling fingertips,
of the eavesdrop waiting in background.
(Aromatics in patina of a silver smithing caesia.)
Adding to the exhibit in The Modern Art
jumpers and scarves mixed to the clothes pile,
the ebony beauty of traveller students turning back
from the bad boy fifties sepia photographs
smiled to wonder at the growing of number 23.
A grimacing attendant handed over my blue cable,
the slightly shredding goretex, the beanie of many hues,
destined too soon for the cat’s warm bed.
(The listener had finally joined the conversation.)