The large lady laboriously climbs
down the ladder from a gun emplacement.
She had gone up to contemplate
the blue view
and to damage the gun.
She has done neither
for the view was a baize haze
and the rooted gun immovable in stone.
So she climbs down the shaky ladder
with a few rungs missing
carrying her mostly uneaten
of which she has consumed a single
leaving the shell
not as litter but as symbolism
on the sullen gun
in its grey rotunda.
At the foot of the ladder she finds sand;
and one brown, shuttered house
from which another lady
This one wears a blurry face
and an orange dress
matching her orange hair
in a bun.
The large lady perforates along the beach
on her high-heeled pumps
by the water’s verge,
as a large, pale water-bird might do.
When she reaches her own cottage
near the bay,
she finds a letter from the strange orange lady
in its crisp white envelope
lying on the table:
“I am an admirer of your poesy,
so I am baking you a fresh peach pie,”
the nice note reads.
“Do come to my house near the bay,”
she speaks in her head,
“Orange lady who admires my poesy.”
“We will sit here quietly, in twlilght,
and drink a cup of carefully brewed tea.”
With a sigh, she puts aside the memory
of the grey gun she could only decorate
but not destroy.
Though clear in her eye she holds a vision;
the thin, ceremonious shell
of her eaten egg
painted by the sun against the sky.
Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 1984
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.