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Love's lepidopterist

by E.K Wall

Up in my cluttered study I tried to write about love
I tried to pin its thin wings against my lines and
my crossings out, attempted to spear it with
leads’ quick shaft in the changing light
that splintered where it fell.

Then, opposite, I suddenly saw them
emerge from their porch’s smooth rim
cocooned in love’s transparent layers,
buttoned up against the wind’s divisive shrug.
I saw her bewilderment flap, as she slippered
her confused way down their unfamiliar drive
that he knew like the back of his speckled hand.

I watched as he dragged that week’s
waste down to the front in the black
wheelie bin that stank of rancid fat,
cracked flowerpots, dust, remnants.
I looked at the way that he struggled
with the debris that they’d left behind.

On one side teetered his wife’s unbalanced
frame, unrecognisable from the girl who had
swept him off his feet sixty-two years before
and who didn’t know him now.
On the other their disposable life
bagged up and composed of the dregs
that he was happy to let go of.

And I realised in that instant that some
love could never be caught and confined to a
board where casual others walk past to gawp.
And, as she clutched his tired hand back
up the slope home, I knew that he would
never let her tissue wings be pinned.

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