A new poem by Jerry McGrath

With Milne

We walked among the Milnes,
where even indoors it’s wintry,
while out a milliner has feathered
the land in cruciferous fancies,
mustard-and-pickle rimmed,
and russet stands march down
slick black hills, in retreat from
sunset to hearth and home.

Mr. Milne never married,
said the guide to a cross-legged tribe
of tender youth, deepening the mystery
in their upswept eyes.

These pictures prompted you
to remember to come over and
carry off a small work painted by
a former friend, a troubled woman
with an affinity for sunsets, suffocating
clouds and fading shoe-strings of light.

You’d paid for it, it was yours,
I confirmed, a little too raw
and loud for the junior crowd.
Heads turned. We looked about
as if we’d each lost something
to different corners of the room.

We waited for the youngsters
to depart. Please, I said, can we
divide the loot a little later?