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Two New Poems by Alex Shaw

Aside

 

i.m. Thomas Keillor

 

Dust on ledger and spine –

and it’s not the spread dust

of war that browned his cockpit

over Rabat Sale, Portreath,

 

it’s rust circles on a book

in the attic, degrees

of separation. I will keep

this point in air above

 

water an aside in his

Flying Logbook: Ditched

off Spanish coast. Picked

up by fishing vessel.

 

Arrangements

 

There was a kind of order in all her beds,

even where the wild strawberries grew.

 

She kept the purple blush of rhododendrons

to the back, because she knew about colour

 

in paintings, like the oil she impulse-

bought for him of a cherub sitting

 

by a vase, sold once before at Christie’s.

She sat up by it often, in the back-room

 

with her lover’s maps, and one night let

Lithuania slip through her hands. Countries

 

she knew had been dissolving, maps unmade

like beds turned over, or paintings with a tear

 

to their canvas. I never knew her protocol

for flower-arranging, or whether years ago

 

she stopped making up all the details.

 

 Image credit: Martin Brigden

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