He stands before the empty canvas, sees
sky fragile and faultless as a blown bubble,
a sea of crinkled cellophane,
and a long, lost summer afternoon
smelling of grass, warm stone
and pine needles.

Sunlight shifts and flickers
dappling cottage walls
as the trees nod in agreement
with the warm wind.

A path leads down past ragged outcrops
to the town, where roofs glow oven hot,
grandmothers skulk like ghosts in chilly kitchens,
and cats lie stunned in alleyways
flat as their own shadow.

I stand before the picture, watching
it fade back into the frame.
Footsteps. The gallery is closing.

Outside the air is sharp with rain
and petrol smells. I am immune.
My sky is blue and endless, and my soul
warmed by a distant sun.



Ann Shakespeare


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