Final Eighties Exposé

1 June 2013

At an auction of Jacqueline Fahey’s art,
all your old teachers in their
batik headbands drink Henkell Trocken
and swing parrot earrings from
pulled lobes.

Every face is almost the one
you want to see and
every conversation about a
daughter that isn’t quite you –

she’s an awfully clever scholar

she’s beautiful at science

and her algebra is simply
magnifique.

On the floor a river of pee-wees,
clinkers and galaxies roll in a
stream toward a small hole in the corner
of the room

and children scrabble about on
their knees dragging collaged
party hats behind them like
parachutes.

From downstairs there is
a rhythmic thump
thump
thump

where a Morrissey concert
that you’re dying to get to has
already begun but

the auction hasn’t started yet
and you’re fretting because you
need to get away and because

you need that painting, the
one where your mother,
finished teaching for the day,
sits at a table

her diamond rings hazed in
Pall Mall smoke

and the wispy brown
quarter-moon of a
child’s head can be
seen to rest against
her knees.

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