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We're the other side of summer now.
When days shorten
Leaves die
And we find ourselves alone in the dark.

I can't conjure happiness, boy.
I can't magic us back to spring,
When shoots of joy were growing
And we thought the days would lengthen forever.

I woke to gloom,
A grey day.
Fine rain dampens June
And makes us wonder how summer fled so fast.
Whittling reeds
The damp and the mist
A glimmer - a fish!
And dark again.
Steam. Overgrown botanical sprawl that dares to clutch the sagging ironwork and crush it, **** the life from its bones. Over the cracked chequer-board parquet, roses tangle. Their thorns catch at embroidered skirts and tear sequins from shot-silk dancing slippers. Ripped denim dampens in the misting rain and exotic mosses leave green kisses on the pockets.
Chandeliers by candle light and gin punch scooped from a cut glass bowl in tiny, gold-handled cups. Grandmother's rings ***** against crystal, from their inherited position on evening-gloved fingers: emerald, sapphire, diamond. Hazy music from the ancient gramophone. Crisp air through slightly ajar French windows, whipping cigarette smoke out into the night. Sequinned shawls hide bare shoulders and drape loosely over navy taffeta, fuchsia velvet and inky satin.
Candy-coloured carousel horse, creaking in the draft. Bare bed frames, bare walls, bare floorboards. One long sock - cable, large knit - pulled up over a chilly knee, one folded down over the top of a scuffy, high-buttoned boot. Pink tutu, mustard woolly jumper. Buttons and laces and hooks-and-eyes, tying childhood down.
Purple shadows under eyes, pale hands trailing the brocade tie of last night's kimono. In the cold chill of morning, cashmere bed socks are stuffed into pink velvet slippers and furs are huddled around shoulders, over silk pyjamas in hushed shades of pink, ivory, pearl.
Up-ending hatboxes, raffling through trunks, presses, armoires filled with sun-damaged silks. A fox fur draped over stiff taffeta and over-large, mismatched Wellington boots. Boxes of disintegrating books and attic bedsteads rubbing shoulders with brass tables brought home from the almost-forgotten days in India. Parasols falling to dust like moth wings, top hats with dull shine and worn bands. Dim. The light of ageing; the cloud-covered throb of a weak sun through the dust sheets at the windows.
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