Frances Leviston

Two Poems


We have noticed the house at the end’s
original golden shell of smoke-discoloured stones
being elaborated upon –
then the funds, the pretence of funds, ran dry.

New cement buttercreams the breeze-blocks together.
The tough blue tub it was mixed inside
matures to found sculpture, a reverse mould for rainfall
on permanent display in the yard;

those grey runny hollows, like pinnacles of guano
at a cliff’s foot, if cast would turn out an architect’s model
so spectacular, so irregular,
no-one could think it possible to execute.

Seven flexible silvery extractor tubes flop
from the chimney stacks,
the arms of a villain in Doctor Who, never as new
as you wish it would be, a riff on a form,

and finial tiles, faintly martial,
decorate the ridge with a crest of spikes, four-pointed stars
touching tip to tip, a string of paper dolls
holding hands forever, all cut from the same sheet

by someone who also peels oranges in one go.
Terracotta warriors, Tanagra figurines,
their fin-de-siécle welcoming party interrupts the sky
with its colour-wheel opponent, orange on blue;

and a gallon jug of paint-stripper, colourless and violent,
stands forgotten on the tar paper roof.
It must be a reminder someone left for themselves
of something they meant to do.


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