• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 08


A mardi gras of parakeets bicker gaily as I wander,
paper bags of grain, a pudgy toddler hand in mine,
aiming unsteadily for a creamy-cupped magnolia.

Within its glossy leaves, two peach-faced lovebirds
catch the aviary windowed light and I think of Fragonard,
‘The Swing’ a distant summer at the Louvre. How that

playful painting, galante, serpentine, as intimate as you
and me in our beginnings, held us fixed while half the world
passed by. Loose, florid, that ballet-pink dress billowing out

in boscage air, the paramour’s curved arm, and all the green
arboreal shimmer of that sultry sensuality is in this volary today.
How we both, lounging by the Seine, waxed drunkenly lyrical

on Fragonard’s frantic dog, the two complicit putti,and in spite of all the painting’s mirth and joy, how that cuckolded husband in crepuscular shadows watches the coming of the end of things.

Two exotic love-birds tilt and sway, eyes half closed, the bright mica of their beaks blinking in the tree. Toddler scatters seeds by handfuls, wings fly down in a candy-coloured carefree chittering. We swore we’d never part.