In Retrospect
for Elisabeth Kroeger


I'd swear when first I looked you were there
waving -- window down, door just ajar
for your hazardous entrechat

to the leaping platform. Here's my hand
still outstretched to steady your landing
(or test for rain). The other ponders

the weight of itself in your absence --
only too clear on a second glance
along the rubbished railbed. Spraycans

of long-painted-out graffitists lost
for words. Fox-turds like age-encrusted
walnut whips. Hushed sidings much obsessed

by stubborn buddleia and polystyrene
beakers. While you, I should imagine,
will have missed a much earlier train --

ambushed at St Pancras by a squad
of awkward milk-churns; impeded by birds
charmed down from beshitten girders

to flounce among the limp confetti
of bygone workmen's pasteboard tickets
and damp, star-punctured day-returns.

My arm aches, stretching out of focus
into the vanishments of twilight, as
it dawns on me: perhaps we're each of us
only a figment of the other's hindsight.




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