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The Umbrella Garden

Kate Greenlee

Make tiny holes in the earth
And into it pour
The glossy black sea of a February morning.
Rush hour,
Where umbrellas, picked out
To match a suit for every day of the week
Choose a place of concrete
By tube stops
Bus stops
Taxi ranks
And nourish it in British weather.
Don’t let the sun peer behind the clouds
Allow no wind
Else they shall hide, scarce,
In overcoat pockets.

By eight o’clock they will begin
To peek pointed tips from subways
Unfurl themselves outside cafes
And jostle down pavements.
They stand upright
Balanced in one hand
In the other, a coffee cup
Or briefcase
Or today’s paper.

By ten o’clock they will have vanished again,
Black petals collapsed
Out of sight.
Perhaps a few are left
And fly like birds over the Thames
Caught up in the wind.


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