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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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Claire Everett


"So what about that one?" he asks.

"Magenta", I say.

"Almost pur–"


He gives me that look. As far as he's concerned it might as well be a spade we're admiring. I lean back in my chair, take another sip of mint tea.

"I suppose it's all a matter of perception . . . " His eyes are closed, his hands clasped. I'm not even sure he's listening. "After all, it's going to seem different depending on whether you're on the outside, looking in, nose-deep in the scent, or you're on the inside, looking out . . . but ‘out’ no longer exists because you're a thrip and your whole world just unravelled from a bolt of silk . . . ”

"Hmmm," he mumbles, without so much as raising an eyebrow, "And we know the damage thrips can do . . . "

"Labyrinthine. That's another word I like".

"Purple passages". Mumbling again.

Late as it is, the sky has barely darkened and still, the blackbird sings in the rowan. Oh to be fluent in indigo on a balmy midsummer night which seems bound to be no longer than one verse of that fluting song!

"You know, before it's even dark it's going to be getting light again – more tea?"

I love it when we’re of one mind. And at least his eyes are open now

"I've not finished this one" . I smile. The waxing moon is floating in my cup.

"Simmer dim", I say.


"This nightlong twilight".

He grunts.

t's too hot to sleep. I turn one way, then another, settle for my back and float in the not quite darkness, the not quite silence, like that moon in my cup. The curtain starts to billow. Must be a change in the wind.

"So, what about this?" he asks.

"Carmine," I say.

"Pink", says he. "And that one?"

'm thinking claret, port-wine, ruby . . . no, garnet. I can feel it on my lips. The shape of it. My mouth moves to speak, but makes no sound. Hold on, there's something oddly familiar about this.

The spell is broken.

"Actually, I'd say that is undeniably, unashamedly – "

red peony     a dream that I'm dreaming