Draped in the black warmth 
of a shawl, she feels
the coolness of crockery 
and the crackling heat
of the pan. The light
falling down the chimney
is a tongue that dampens 
soot and smoke. 

In the seashore house 
there are ships in bottles. 
The walls give off an odour 
of caps and coats hung to dry. 

In summer weeks go by 
without the lamps
being filled with oil:
the days are gradual
like the time required 
to forget a tragedy –
death by water,
a disappearance on the horizon. 

From Painting the Pink Roses Black, Dedalus Press, 1986

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