On Leaving 14 James Street

It has all come down to this, not to my surprise,

But to the honour of my own sole and wry pleasures

Paula poured soy milk into a bowl of frozen bananas

and, even as mush stuck to the blades,

whizzed them into ice cream


We sit down outside and sigh and relax backwards – the bargaining is over,

And there is little more oxygen to sell anyway,

Even for the low, low prices on which these remaining days depend

You can read the overness in the cut grass, which itself has become stubble

I learned last summer that you should raise your mower’s blade height

If you have turned the lawn suddenly from meadow to yellow,

Which occurs to me as Paula takes her coffee and the pill


But this only barely occurs to me, because when one thing ends,

Many others tend to end at the same time, which is relaxing

The endings are strange and a lot like laughter, and you try

To remember them all and how much proliferation there really was,

Even at the final warm embrace of a bronzing wrist


My hand, drooping languid,

Twists wooden pegs on a washing line like ambitions

Paula finishes the bowl and I take her bronzing wrist and hold it with my two hands

I know that I am bad at transmitting care,

But I have learned from her, in a year or so,

that it is good enough to try


Later, reading Modern African Poetry on the hot steps,

The distant wind moves branches behind the buildings

And for a moment, as a thin and black line,

The curvature of the earth asserts itself