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Here’s how I first saw it.


A locomotive, shunted to a side track,

stationary as snow piled onto its running boards

and beside the wheels, drifting in with the twilight;

tracks extending in both directions into

the white expanse.  The stationmaster, a silhouette

carrying a tureen from the cottage, steam leaving

a tiny trail that draped itself over the picket fence.

The bed where his lordship lay exactly

like the beds our children slept in years ago,


a single bed against a wall. How many times

did they turn to that wall, as if it were

a screen showing one of those films we used to watch

in the garden, projected onto a sheet; a film

in which they starred in all their hopes and miseries? 

I watch as he turns from what I know

must be Anna’s face

conjured from his illness, as it appears to him

in the wallpaper.  He turns to stare at me

as I peer in at him from the window,

saying nothing

but his eyes saying

don’t come in.  Please don’t come in

his troupe saying

don’t go in.  You’re not to go in


but the wind, juggling flurries of snow between

streetlight and darkness, saying

Wait.  It will be soon be time.

Commended, Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Competition 2022

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