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Holland Park Poem

Three Poems
by Jacquelyn Arnold
Holland Park

I walked with you the asphalt tracks
of your schooldays,
while raw green tongues grazed our faces 
and I gulped down 
every last crumb of you.

You told of the past, yet over
the tender green evening, I barely understood
why there was no talk of the future. 

At The End Of The Season

Eleven milky leather chairs
engulf the full stretch
of the room, soaking up the ringing stab
of heels on marble.
At five am, she picks her way through
the hotel reception, mindful not to wake the dozing
lying like a god across his pale throne.
She is at once aware that her legs, 
attenuated in skirt and slip as they work
coolly across the floor
in twelve hours will force her 
back home. Turning slowly from him,
she moves into the sober night, tense
against the insolent touch of the door.
Temperate, uncomfortable hands
trace the guilt-edged path to the gardens,
where she stares for a full hour
into the indigo pool.

Matchbox Morals

I went once, with a man
who could change day into night.
As I sat on his bed (low slung, almost
on the lino), he reached into his 
pocket and brought out a box
bearing my name, slim and coarse
like a matchbox (minus the flint, 
of course) and told me 
that if I looked inside, kaput.
But if I could endure the hope
of finding out its cardboardy capacity
(and Lord! who could?)
the resulting enlightenment would all be worth it 
in the end.
I of course, had my doubts.
Thought of my mother, but then - 
(I stayed the night though, and it was only in the
I remembered a friend telling me
a similar story, about my virginity.) 


I’d had a shower when I returned,
having known full well
that the lazy perfume of your audacity
would remain. 
Still, I wasn’t equipped
for the scent that rests with me
today. Marked this way I know 
that everyone can smell your tarnish;
velvety and bruised, like old silver,
and I have to suppose 
that in your complacent bed
the semblance of my shadow is already fading.

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