Here After All
For Peter Robinson
Beneath pink stucco facades,
slung hocks of purple ham,
we milled on the threshold
of another couple’s wedding day
among guests who themselves
arrived too early or late.
After three weeks brought us as close
as failed calls’ repetitive pips last night,
there it was, as far as we’d get,
a perfect lack of coincidence.
A distracted passer-by let on
he wasn’t sure if he’d seen you in days.
Was it time to turn for home?
Tram cables, dusty sunlight,
names I almost recognised
(except we’d never been this way before)
were threatening to become
occasions to be spoken of
at a later date.
Tourists twice over on borrowed ground
and short of a guide-book suggestion,
we might just have left
on a convenient afternoon train.
I was trying the family’s patience
until – as if by chance –
gravel paths through the Parco Ducale
brought us out of shade,
to the lip of a fountain cistern
as dark carp rose where you said they’d be,
nosing the surface, here for all to see.
[Tom Phillips is a poet, playwright and journalist living in Bristol. His first full-length collection of poetry, Recreation Ground, was published by Two Rivers Press in 2012.]
Copyright © 2012 by Tom
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