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Your Ceramic Vase

John Haxton

 

Etiquette demands I apologise.
I broke your ceramic vase
which you had begun to explain
was ‘art nouveau’.
You had handed it to me
so I could observe it better.
_
You scrambled to gather the fragments.
On your knees you repeated the word irreplaceable
in different tempos,
it sounded like a prayer for the dead.
_
I know I should not smile at the dead.
I know I should be sombre in their presence.
I know I should appreciate ‘art nouveau’ but
_
I thought it an ugly frog with its gaping mouth.
I was about to say that when
… it leapt.

 

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