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by Oonah V. Joslin

Girls play in the garden of remembrance.
Their time is short – November shadows long.
Yew trees will mourn their loss of innocence.
Conifers will confer upon the lawn
the sorrowing gait of those who’ve always known
windows disappear.

The shuttlecock ticks to and fro till they
run out of breath and gaiety, hemmed in,
controlled, condemned, coniferous, confined,
in box, in phallus, there in naked breast.
House nor garden offer a place of rest.

That monkey-puzzle tree cannot be climbed.
The ghosts of ashes hover overhead.
The moon is up. It haunts and mocks the day
in long fore-shadowings. Womb and tomb are
equally dark. Each flower has its day and
windows disappear.

Blood pumps. It circulates. Venous return
return, return, return purple to red,
red to ceanothus blue to shoal of
mackerel murmuration. This is being
free – no boundaries but this span of shadows.

Smoke billows up the chimney fades to sky.
The rules are all around in the moment
um of the game. Still life. Life still alive
visible only by this borrowed light.
Posterity is neatly edged by time.
Windows disappear.

This house has only five high windows left
unswallowed by the ivy’s choking grasp.
When all light fails and the game is over;
the yew in youth, a mere illusion, past.
Who will remember then who played the game?

Eyes close, night falls up, up into the cloud
into the info-cloud of memory
forgotten names, marriages, deaths and births.
Where houses crumble, darkness makes its roost.
The game is yours. Play it for all you’re worth.
Windows disappear.

The Badminton Game

David Inshaw, The Badminton Game, 1972-73

Copyright © 2016 by Oonah V. Joslin

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