Like the promise of a world –
the worst companions –
this walk is my favourite:

from Oxford Art Supplies
to Paddington Library,
up beside the old barracks
with the stone wall –

these paving stones,
like Rhinehardt’s paintings,
are nothing special –
the limits of love –

the stone wings folded, quiescent
above a shared grave,
a costly monument
to a dead relationship:

dead because like this angel,
it won’t fly –
paving stones, each
about a metre square,
not even stone:

cement slabs, some with a runnel,
concealing a join, at roughly three foot
by three foot –
those impressed with an imitation
join are perhaps replacements
for broken paving stones,

on the right side of upper Oxford St.,
I finally knew –
the promise of a world –

this heart has a hard time –
it is the worst companion –

each paving stone expressing something deeper
than its actual or imitative

a deeper grain of shale,
ocher or sienna, a crack or break
in perfect harmony with the repetitive
squareness of the paving stones
in this perfect syrup-less light
on my favourite walk –

my lover said, ‘Unlike in New Zealand
there is no lichen on the footpaths
‘ –
but this is not true of my paving stones
who wear red and yellow lichen
or light green, viridescent moss, where they join,
where they really join –

they are the worst companions –
everything they have to say
is in the phrase, ‘This is my
favourite walk
‘ –
the limits of love – as if I alone see
what is there for anybody:

nothing special – the philosopher king also says,
Don’t try to be too just or too wise:
do you wish to ruin yourself
?’ –

like the promise of a world –
this heart has a hard time
learning all it needs to know:

when it can already see
this beauty
and cannot reach it –
like anybody – nothing special –

it finally will never know
the limits of love –

turning over the leaves of long ago –
these paving stones,
on my favourite walk,

from Oxford Art Supplies
to Paddington Library –
like the promise of a whole world, I
finally never knew –

a costly monument
to a dead relationship,
above a shared grave,

the stone wings folded
are nothing special.