The Cubbyhouse

Overhead the loquat’s
deep-veined leathery leaves
cast perennial shadows
across the perky gable.
Furry yellow fruit sheds to ground
squishy with decaying flesh
and slimy seeds.

Two children, mincing sideways
in their flimsy little sandals
the way mounted police dodge
protesters’ marbles,
approach the picket fence
and miniature curtained windows.
Chameleon-like they enter,
fill the house with the rattle
of teacups and spoons,
and solemnly discuss housekeeping
interspersed with baby talk
as they feed their dolls
then tuck them up in cots
and read them stories.
One by one they tiptoe out
when their charges are asleep.

And over there a giant pumpkin
half-obscures the dark gaping
mouth of an air-raid shelter.
There’d been a war on and the men
divested of blue suits had thrown up
shovels of earth and sculpted the raw mound
now embraced by tendrils creeping
ever further on the quarter-acre block.



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