Anne Rouse


A winter sun is fingering the stalls,
slowly lightening, like milk in tea,
the plaster busts of Elvis,
Kowloon tartan scarves.

A vendor on the tarmac grips
a bag, shower-curtain thick.
His face, out of an abbatoir,
is garish with the cold, and now

there's company: a woman
rigid as a crane, an elder Fury
in descent, who angles fiercely for
a bargain lime-green double-pack,

as he rips, and splits the bag
into murky veils. Shadows fuse:
blunt animal, and flayed machine.
All this occurs in the no-time of a glance.

Behind them a granite sky is streaked
with fissures like a ruined plinth.
Their flurried moment lasts,
frozen with that long violence.

Taken from Anne's new and third collection with Bloodaxe entitled The School of Night , available now. Copyright Bloodaxe 2004.


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