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Wimbledon


Walking on the common
    in heavy blue light,

she says to him the time for children,
    were there ever one, has

passed, that would be that, and
    two close calls aside,

she proves to be right, and the years
    pass with happiness

too great to be measured, because
    one does not measure what feels

endless, just as this land was once
    a queen's private hunting estate,

everything around it Hers too;
    there were no boundaries,

until a village grew to service
    Her horses and

part-time tailors, the cobblers and
    surgeons and cooks needed

to properly entertain guests, and
    then the uninvited came,

took what was not desirable, built
    their limestone houses,

rolled carriages down two-track
    paths until the dirt was stone,

watching the eternal from their
    handblown windows

as it tilted through centuries, like
    a faithful planet

that doesn't regard its reflection
    bouncing off distant moons,

light traveling back so slowly the
    world has moved on, its orbit

endless, drawn by forces
    exerting their will in the darkness,

which on this falling January night
    has drawn the sky close

like a wool coat, the lights in
    homes once run by servants

flickering without a wince of post-
    imperial shame,

and South London looks up
    at wisdom winging down

at them like a bat flying on sonar:
    how nothing remains, that in

mere years, their love, with no one
    but each other as witness,

will have found some other way
    to mark time, not by being

boundless, but bound, as the sky
    is to ground at the close of day.


John Freeman

Maps
Copper Canyon Press


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