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A Hundred Gourds 4:2 March 2015

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Peter Butler - UK


Crossing the Dateline


Last week, I mislaid Tuesday, somewhere between Tahiti and New Zealand. Islanders reckon it often drops from airliners, gets embedded in coral or impaled on a shark’s tooth, and generally evades capture. “There’s a grave in the lagoon, full of Tuesdays”, one told me. “We send tourists in glass-bottomed boats to check them out, but they never find much.

taking a swim
to film coral, ageless
unlike me

Another suggested:”We get a lot of Saturdays in high season, though some islands only take in Sundays, because they are better behaved. “Legends say that stingrays nibble at the days, or else they simply rot with age”.

The stewardess recommends: “Fly the other way, you’ll get another Tuesday back quite soon”.

“That doesn’t solve my problem,” I reply. “This Tuesday’s died. It withers in somelost lagoon. How do I break the news to Wednesday?”

the hotel alerts
the fire alarm
dead on time as usual



And there is forever light . . .



. . . And is comes to pass, with climate change, the sun shines through the day and night while experts tinker with the clocks and light.

. . . And in what was once the winter gloom people stretch out on the fibregrass, sing anthems to the lost art of candle-making, share behind their sunblock, veils and shrouds, pictures and poems of darkening skies, dying stars, companionship in dim-lit bars.

. . . And guards with light meters come on duty, watchful, keen to earn their keep, as couples queue for shadows at inflated prices in the park, yearning for the peace and privacy of softening dusk, imaginative fumblings in the dark.

first day in his nineties
he leafs through
a childhood in sepia

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