A Mathematical Proof
The lonely girl with the hot
red lips that drew attention
and the glossy black fringe
slipped, unseen into the night.
She wasn’t afraid of being spotted.
the darkness was like a thick
wool cloak that obscured her form.
She ran two-thirds of the way
down the street, darting
beneath the canopy of trees
to escape exposure by
street lights and onto bus Number two seven
Seven, that bypassed the school route -
that went directly to town.
She joined the throng of people
at the club, one third girls with
blunt cut fringes and lips like flames,
escaped out white villa windows
from their middle class families
in Mt Eden. Swaying in unison
like sea grass in the surging tide.
She was one of sixty three
who felt the current of the rhythm
pass through them as a single entity and it
was a revelation to learn, simply defined,
that the whole is greater than the sum of the
Individual parts. It flew in the face of what she
thought she knew and she felt a shift that night.
But like the tide that flows then ebbs,
she felt the gradual trickle
in two and threes and multiples,
of good girls like her slipping out
and home as the second tier of serious clubbers
accustomed to this synergy, emerged
onto the geometric grind of the dance floor.
And in a Cinderella moment
she gathered her handbag and coat
and slipped back into the cloak
of anonymity that only the darkness offers.
And one again alone but irrevocably changed,
flagged a cab back to her window,
left open a fraction in Mt Eden.
As the second hand continued its rotation
the new deck was built around
the old tree, stood ninety one years
covered in haggard lichen, bleached
and feathery. It hadn’t seemed right
to cut it down; it had earned its place,
despite the boughs - knobbed and nude
and the advice of the arborist who
spoke in slow grave tones,
“It won’t last. I would cut it down. It’ll
detract from the beauty of the garden. Plant
lush subtropicals. It won’t be missed.”
The hardy griselinias we planted
in a line, in front of its time-etched base,
grow fat, face their broad bright leaves -
compressed ( like children sitting tight and
shoving at a school assembly,) towards the
sun and twitter in annoyance
at the crumpled shadow imposed by
the old tree we seeked to save.
“It does make the place look messy, doesn’t it?
Did we do the right thing? I say, turning to face
my husband, greying now at the temples.
I have a shoe box, revisited infrequently,
a mishmash of photos of my grandfather
and me and trinkets I kept of our precious
time. We smile out together
all lanky limbs - his sinewy and mine flush
with vitality. I should visit him more
often at that home for the aged and
infirm, I muse
but it smells of stale
urine and the groaning of the demented