Moving Day, Generic. (Ver. 1964.1)

One box, cardboard, labelled, standard
issue, plus
the gentle, final art of desiccation.

Pages of pressings.
(Primrose. Crocus. Buttercup. Cowslip. Celandine.
Morning Glory. Hyacinth. Forget-Me-Not.)
Cellophane tape, serrated ends,
faint fingerprints, to identify the
(Cow Parsley. Scotch Thistle. Stinging Nettle--
live Nettle, dead Nettle.)
Plain white paper, cut to fit the (see
the small, unsure strokes of a child's hand, the changes
in direction with each cut, the overlapping cuts, the
repetetive cutting, the automatic cutting, the
obsessive paring to a spare perfection
never achieved.)
The specimens
(Horse Chestnut. Pussy Willow. Linden. Oak. Wych
Elm. Sycamore. Lombardy Poplar. Weeping Willow.)
are not labelled. I cannot forget.
I may never speak their names again.
(Wild Rose.)
In a coarse brown envelope, labelled "Jackie," in
the small, unsure hand of a dying
(cemented in a Pearl Assurance advert
dated 2/62, he liked the laurel, traced the laurel--hold
the paper close and breathe, detect the scent of blue-
black ballpoint pen. Double underline.) and
John Fitzgerald, dead.

Scorch the earth, burn the ashes, sow your salt.
Leave before dawn.

Reduced, through further distillation, beyond quintessence,
beyond the final gasp of vapour,
beyond pyrolysis,
beyond ashes, past smoke,
distilled to cinder. All, flame-distilled to perfect, dry
completion, long ago, the box returned,

JDP 97/05

Copyright John D Porter © 1997

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