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The early September sun splashes against the sulky sky.

Its light lingers upon the iron-rod road, where cars

Are parked nose to nose and wrought iron

Gates are closed, against the fast approaching night.

We drive, like evening snails passed rows of houses.

Homes to renters, buyers and doer-uppers;

Where half-closed curtains offer up brief glimpses

Of ordinary life, with TV flickers and weekday dinners.

The Rose crouches on the corner of Rupert and Trinity.

Like a magpie in a sparrow’s nest. Its naked windows warmed

With laughter; not quite happy ever after but good enough

For a workday evening down the pub.

Twenty years of hopes and tears separate us;

Our lives and careers steering us over different paths.

Still, we fit together like long lost magnets.

The ghosts we share, resting gently on our shoulders.

A rising moon, so full of madness shines upon our

Empty glasses that once overflowed with youth and fire; now

Lovingly stoked, with stubborn friendships, that will not fade or expire.

But will follow you through yet another doorway marked,

‘Retire.’

For Christine Isaacs and friends who worked with me at the Vauxhall Centre (A social service run Day Centre for disabled people) in Norwich, UK during the 1990’s