Philip Gross – Later


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after the work stopped
         water filled the quarry pit
(just a kerb of raw pink limestone showing
by the cherry-ripe DANGER DEEP WATER sign)
                           then it was available for light

and for transients, drawn
         by its glint from the sky.
The landscaped car park bays are emptying
in the all-at-once late afternoon, a safely-gathered-in
                           of scattered child cries for the night.

A small flock (black
         snags I can’t name
in a reflected satin blue) is intent on itself,
its scoots, squabbles and lulls, as busy as a shopfloor
                           at being the species they are

dip-and-shrugging and
         frisking themselves. One
stands up, almost, on the water, up-and-un-
ruffling wings of spray like (from here, with low sun
                           behind) those of a larger

brighter bird than itself
         which is also itself
extended into space around it, the sensible
world. Itself... Yes, maybe that’s what self is, not
                           a tight-inside-us nub

but what we are, thrown
         out and off, un-self-seen,
once-for-all, betraying even as it leaves us
our position, giving itself (don’t you long
                           to say ‘gladly?) away

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