I am freshly washed
and yet
do not feel up for sale.

I pass a table of soaps
lined like soldiers against a creamy cloth
shapes of ice cream cones and tea
cups smelling like
oatmeal pumpkin and honeydew
lavender.

A young boy stands behind the table,
a loose apron drapes from his shoulders
pockets swaggering around his tummy thick
with fives and tens and twenties–

all about me drip scents
of apples sweetly massaged
by a low morning dew and
for sale
for sale
for sale–

The sweetness sticks to my hair
my clothes, the skin between my fingers
sticks together from the steam of the espresso stall
the juice of autumn berries climb up my neck
and whisper sweetly into my ears
how nice

how delicious

how rapturous–

and yet
I do not feel up for sale.

I walk past a woman who weaves grape leaves
past a butcher with her slabs of lamb past a boy
holding crusty rye which he squeezes, gently
sounding like how my shoes sound against the falling leaves
that take me now

past

the breezy mid-morning streets.
I walk–straighter
straight

to the bush
to the pines the oaks the manuka
hugging the banks of a trickling creek
lined with crunchy leaves I crunch with my shoes
–I feel the crunch through my heels–
I see a gaping hole in the tree lined creek
where a thick knotted oak has collapsed in its greatness
now no longer a tree but
a bridge to cross the creek.

The knotted trunk makes room for me
and rests between my shoulder blades;
I tilt my chin towards the lullaby clouds.


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