Poetry

Manoeuvres

There may have been several women

worthy of notice,

but she was the one I did notice.

Coming and going, she came and went,

and so I came and went.

Stopping and starting, she set the course

of my own manoeuvres.

Past Roman farm tools, pausing at cracked pots,

opening drawers of Victorian lace,

doubling back for a second look

at a Regency chair,

we became familiar, one after the other,

with ropes and exits.

How long this went on I can tell you

to the very minute.

I can also describe minutely

much that I saw,

each piece now associated

with the pivot of her neck,

with the slope of her shoulders.

At last, to my keen dismay

and my keen relief,

she turned on her heels and marched by me—

leaving me rooted, leaving me face to face

with the yellow and spotted page

of a Renaissance prayer-book.

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