Out of Politeness

1 May 2012

Out of politeness you probably wouldn’t say,
especially when spring has started false
and hailstones
small as ball bearings
ring the roof
keeping you trapped at the library
a cancelled anatomy book under your arm
– or perhaps it’s a newspaper
and instead you’re under the eaves
looking out at sheet rain
wondering how a street sustains so many cafes and not a single electronics shop.
It’s a cable you need, not a coffee,
but it’s a small consolation.

If asked, I probably wouldn’t say,
instead imagining myself lost in a forest
surrounded by the heady aroma
of peaches, perhaps
enjoying this wintry lapse into drizzle
alcoved under a willow
fingers deep in dark soil.
I probably wouldn’t,
I don’t think so anyway.

I wouldn’t say nothing, though
if asked
if pressed between pages
if, while hours and minutes trickled by
if I
if –
I probably wouldn’t say no
no, I’d think of rally driving and Zen meditation.

When time’s fragments gather together in the same room
like boxes on a calendar grid,
a room say, like the one at the end of the hall
with sash windows and the Edwardian daybed,
when they gather there

I wouldn’t want to say either, either
or as well,
I wouldn’t want to say anything, no,
not nothing, not no, not probably not,
lips stitched against the apologia
of a coming wind
needling
addressing no one
but giving everything away.

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