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April 2015, vol 11 no 1

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Peter Butler

A Shelter in the Rain

They sit in silence, though the wind invites them both to speak and thunder urges them to shout. Inside the shelter, ink-stained walls stare back at them, reciting words of quiet rebuke.

Beneath those lines, he thinks, there lies a gentler skin once lit with joy, not care, nor poisoned whim, and in that solemn silhouette emotions lurk to be unwrapped. He waits to see her cheeks unfold the secrets of a thousand smiles, hear great chords of laughter pouring from her eyes. Invents for her a name.

incoming tide
this way...
    that way...

Well-travelled hands, she thinks, now fingerprint a rounded life, for he has walked the threshold of fine harbors, felt when young the touch of great concertos, won medals for unravelling unnecessary wars, or bending icicles. She waits to see his cheeks unfold the secrets of a rounded life, hear music pouring from his eyes. Invents for him a name.

But shyness builds a barrier, an impenetrable shroud, within the shelter's elderly walls. So the two of them remain, twinned in distant intimacy, parted by the rain.

Pier Com-dy Th-atr-
some of the laughter