A CHRISTCHURCH AUTUMN

Oblique light stoops to eavesdrop.
The weather has been reading Keats.
Trees are conflagrations on dank air,
burning like naptha, dropping leaves
in Byzantine mosaics on grey asphalt.

The season suits the city, as does hope’s
bitter discontent. Wind-tunnel streets
lined with frozen rainbows of parked cars
Leaf-drifts provide a draping of relief
from cracks and rubble, earthquake’s fault.

Stop, pause, ponder, rethink, regroup
while catching breath, he contemplates,
makes a mental note. He tarries
over the fading perfume of forgotten faith.
His shoulders infinitesimally wilt.

Umbrellas haemorrhage out of bat shape.
In the Botanic Gardens the blades
of shadow lengthen on the sundials
and as the grey lid comes down, evaporate.

Cars hustle, as if afraid of getting wet.

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