by A C Clarke

3rd Place in the 2006 William Soutar Writing Prize

The garden air, still rain-heavy,
breathes cool after indoors. A gentleness there
and in the hooded light, as if it were
fading in an old photo, to the point
almost of being invisible. People are moving
slowly about, talking in low voices.
Nothing to do with me. I raise a hand
to this honeysuckle flower, pearls still hanging
from its soft lobes, bend to take in
the watered sweetness - deeper, like damp skin
after bathing - feel how much at ease
it lives with itself, before I let it fall
back into place, my momentary touch
effaced already. I stand, havering, among
unhurried things, drawn back
into the framework of time and tension
the struts that brace us against each other
and as an urgency of words flows over
the spaces between selves, I watch - we watch -
moths lured too close to our hot dazzle
flare for an instant, fizzle into smoke.

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