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Fred Johnston

THE BED

It must be like this to wake up
On a bed from which the view is not home
But some other-where attained by chance
And the lover dressing now at the window
Is poised with one leg raised on a chair
The bow of her spine taut in a Degas bend
And one fragile white breast visible -
There is a train you can hear distancing
Itself from the town whose red roofs
Are thuds of paint in a blue sky,
An accordion tune the girl hums,
Behind the papered walls, workmen
Arguing and laughing -
But I am on my own bed and
The street in the window is my own:
It is not the woman dressing who is strange
But the figure filling my own skin,
Whose body is carved from a new anxiety,
Shaped like an exclamation mark,
Waiting for shy words to catch up.

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