Shadow Stands Up #16

Today, some months after this poem was written, the windows of the picture-framer’s warehouse building ‘over the road from our place’ have new signage on them, announcing that the building’s for lease. The loading bay’s roller door grinds and clatters up every morning to reveal a dwindling pile of stuff advertised on an impromptu sign as ‘Garage Sale’. My guess is that the framer’s been there for a long time. He’s been there long enough to accumulate a lot of junk. His sign announcing reduced-price mirrors has been outside long enough to have developed a harsh, Mars-like surface. From time to time, people have walked out of the place gingerly carrying thickly wrapped parcels – restored and reframed artworks perhaps, or perhaps mirrors from the apparently inexhaustible supply within. What will replace the picture framer – or rather, who will replace him? And when he’s gone and the building and its once timelessly optimistic signage have been transformed, will we remember how he used to come out and stand in the sunshine on the footpath, looking up and down the street for the inevitable onrush of custom today, tomorrow, next week? And how long will we remember that?


The picture framer over
the road from our place comes out
in his sensible apron
and takes his signage inside –
it’s evening and the mirrors
he’s been offering at knock-
down prices ever since we
moved in have yet to depart
his inventory. Reflect
on this I do knowing I’m
seduced by the obvious
reflexivities at hand
but also by the sunsets
blazing from the racks inside
his dim shop whose restored gilt
frames and crisply mitred mats
are empty of the content
even the anonymous
passers-by could furnish if
they’d only glance sideways at
themselves burning behind the
window where the mirrors are.

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