Caroline Masters

Caroline Masters is a writer and teacher from Auckland. She is the editor of The Runcible Spoon, an online journal of children’s poetry. She has a Masters degree in English Literature and works with schools and teachers to develop creative literacy programmes.

Under the Magnolia

Smoke curls above him in bed
there’s no window in this new place
and the bare room is hazy

he’s stuck on the new woman
replays his last visit –
sees her pushing the mop across the ceiling
erasing smoke stains
he feels strange
like he’s disappearing

he remembers nding the curtains in her wheelie bin
she got rid of the no circulars sign – why would she do that?
he runs over the reasons again
stubs out the cigarette, gets up,
gets his coat

he’s back under the magnolia
she’s in the lounge this time
watching light from a different T.V.
flickering across a different wall

he pretends –
gives her knitting needles
makes her older, softer
puts a cup of tea next to her foot

and, just for a second, he sees his girl
his head aches
the blossoms smell like antiseptic

he rests his head against the trunk of his tree
notices his slippers in the wet dirt
a small click – the security light flicks on
the new woman yells

he turns, runs, stumbles, shuffles
away from the magnolia
down his old drive
the tails of his thin coat flapping behind him.

First published takahe 88
December 2016