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Country Rose

When the young woman

sitting on the steps below the porch

starts peeling potatoes

legs parted as a country rose

it’s like a busload of tourists


Held up by the roadwork on the bypass

has taken a detour through this tiny village

the sign, neglected, has been obscured

by leaves of sprawling trees, through which

demure blossoms of some flowering vine

peep colorfully


Tonight is fry night, attended mostly

by locals now, but unlike the big cities

where fish and chips are prepared

cheek-to-cheek with chicken thighs and

frankfurters, this fare is fresh as

ice waters of the North Sea,

the loamy soil in which the tubers grow and

leisurely swell, breathing country air


Deftly she wields the peeler, extracts

unsightly eyes, chops slices into generous

thick strips. Each Friday night is special

for her, she knows most of the regulars

by name; between bubbles of steaming oil

she scoops large portions into paper,

flashes you a smiling question – salt & vinegar,

cod separate or together - and if by chance

while glancing at her nimble hands, your gaze

should brush past her rosy apple breasts,

well that’s alright too


This autumn she’s off to London on a scholarship

to an academy, she’ll dress like the Londoners do,

read her notes on the bus or the underground,

lost in the crowd she’ll wrap herself in anonymity

cross her legs, perhaps smile a little less,

but that’s alright too

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© Johnmichael Simon



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