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Miss Johnson

Miss Johnson sat on the palms of my hands,
inside a membrane that I peeled away.
She was a bit like a plucked hen,
her head was the size of a plum
and she wore her wattles like a hat.

There was nothing of the fairy about her,
she was vulnerable, but had no delicacy.
I gave her the little room under the stairs,
where she slept on a cushion in an old wicker basket
and used a lace hankie to cover herself.

She was fond of müsli and grapes
with croutons fried in bacon fat,
and she drank her milk from an eggcup.
Once, I disturbed her toilet under a buddleia
and felt ashamed. She liked to watch television,
especially old John Wayne films, which made her laugh,
even when John was being serious.

She stayed with me for more than a year,
then went off one day with a salesman
and I never saw her again.
Sometimes I use her eggcup at breakfast
and remember the times we shared.
I hope she’s all right.
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