Still too winter a night to be lingering but
off the track, beyond the shrubbery,

these two are struggling, in earnest,
tenderly, to get it up: their frail

near-globe of a papery fire balloon

lopsiding again and again
till they steady its saucer of pale

slack flame between them; wait,
lift it, help it, uncertainly, leave.

It’s a red glowing heart. Aah,

you could say. Or: there are shopfuls
of Valentine kitsch. We’re three

times their age, hearts as tough
as lorry tyres to have got us this far

though apt to trip and flutter – yours

with (the doctor looks up
from her stethoscope trance)

its murmur. Listen.
It says Steady now.

Take care.

for Zélie

I Am Those Clothes…

left on the beach, folded fastidiously,
the name inside absconded.

They ran tests, but I told them nothing.
For a couple of weeks I was news.

People phoned in with their sightings
and confessions. False,

to a man, believe me.
In the end

I stood up, brushed sand from my creases
and walked, and went on walking

wondering who I could take it to,
this new and salty lightness at the core.

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