Old Sport

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‘Well – goodbye.’

We shook hands and I started away. Just before I reached the hedge I remembered something and turned around. ‘They’re a rotten crowd,’ I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.’

I’ve always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved on him from beginning to end. First he nodded politely, and then his face broke into that radiant and understanding smile, as if we’d been in ecstatic cahoots on that fact all the time.

 

The Great Gatsby

Closure

 

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For just a minute
let me pretend
you aren’t there
and that the sounds
I can hear
are the sounds
of trees
softly brushing
against the sky
of rain
softly sousing
the earth
and not your
beautiful hands
softly closing
the door
between us.

 

Plums

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When we were kids we’d sometimes
sneak out into the plum orchard
and steal our parents’ wine to drink.

In the dead of night, like jailbirds hidden
beneath the trees, we picked at branches
and planned for foreign days ahead.

It’s funny now to think we never seemed to
eat a plum in time, being always so
bitter, or sick and wet with ferment and rot.

Each season brought a purple harvest;
the sweetly cankerous smell
hanging low above the slack, damp ground.

Even now I sometimes remember
us, and how the whispers of
anxious leaves would rustle up the dawn.

Though we don’t know each other now –
and isn’t that always the way? –
I remember when we weighed our futures

and how for us, the dark, rank fruits
burst their vernix jackets, and spilled:
violent ink beneath a chasmal sky.

 

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Ophelia

john everett millais(Ophelia by John Everette Millais)

Limply sails Ophelia, whose pretty mouth
imbibed the river’s liquor,
now she wears her rue with a difference;
the flowers venture slowly south –

long past her hung-wide jaw –
coiled about her seeping flesh;
her tongue’s gone bad and
she’ll sing no more.