Your Paintings

More and more I live with your paintings
or more precisely the moment
you first saw them and chose them:
the red bird sitting in
the round of its glade;
the woman who has become
a train trip and a forest
as if her memory were a strip of film
containing both.

The man who helped you choose the paintings
had a name that sounded
like a small animal.
He was the same man
who persuaded you
that instant coffee
tasted better with the milk
stirred in first.

Every few weeks
I buy the cheapest tinned coffee,
come home, and stir it with that spoon of his.
With each motion
I sense your careful steps around the gallery.
You halt here, you halt there,
waiting for the lady with the coloured dots
on the ends of her fingers
to close the deal
on the red bird
and the woman who is becoming
both a trip by train
and a forest.

Lucy Dougan

Lucy Dougan

Lucy Dougan’s books include White Clay (Giramondo, 2007), Meanderthals (Web del Sol), and The Guardians (Giramondo, 2015), which won the WA Premier's Book Award for Poetry in 2016. She holds a PhD from UWA on representations of Naples. She currently works as Program Director for the China–Australia Writing Centre at Curtin University.

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