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November 01st 2008 print

John Eppel

Loveliest of girls

Of all the girls I’ve seen, these, dying,

are loveliest. Lovelier by far

than leaves outside a bedroom window

turning, petals from a vase of bronze,

some drifting to this very page,

even now as I rend my garments

for these dying girls. Slender they are

but not like anorexics, nor stalks.

They walk on the cycle path along

Cecil Avenue or down Flint Road,

cutting corners, joining queues that stretch

like birth; queues for Paracetamol,

for pretty cloth, for paraffin; not

like models with detached pelvises,

nor storks with bloated midriffs, but like

spectres, half-revealed, presentiments

haunting the smug suburb of Hillside,

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the World,

the fucking Universe. Loveliest

of girls are these, dying; loveliest

of leaves turning; petals on a page.