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if the lock failed to turn

the all-seeing dead

I didn’t know then

with uncovered head

politically frozen

boiling bedlam in a cauldron over a naked flame

if someone could vouch for us

rugs soaking in the tub

she always wore black, an apron changed daily

kept her cat inside and never let him out

Emerence prepared sausages, savory scones, pancakes

we could wait until

she had time again

abroom

a christening bowl

sat at arms length

a tangled pile of teaspoons in her apron

had more pride than I did

in a twilight thick with drizzle

I buttoned the little dog inside my coat

we made our way like some mysterious and very minor religion

everything was Christmas

one had to respect those animal lovers who had watched without regret or protest as the sealed coal wagons rolled into the distance

geese, ducks and hens were drawn to her

like St. Francis and the wolf

through the thickly falling snow

muttering curses

they shot crows

you’d have thought she was caressing a flower or newborn babe

I thought she was lying

in vain from Pontius to Pilate

she didn’t wish to explain

could bring magic even to the laying out of food

a heartless capitalist

no priest now

as if killed by unkindness

incapable of tears

shameful to have stayed away

once again it wasn’t me

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