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After dinner

After dinner we walked over to the Public Garden,

the heat less violent in the dark.

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Around the edge of the pond, the breeze toyed

with the tresses of the willows that trailed in the water.

The Swan Boats were in for the night, but swans were gliding,

each with its double across the glass,

passing with a nod like royalty, slightly distant,

necks curved like ballerinas.

The ducks were still paddling about, more sociable

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than the swans, more plebeian, sticking together in groups.

The sky was a bright polluted purple, but here below

the colors were smudgy and undefined,

merging in hazy blues and grays.

On the next bench, two people were talking softly,

one with an arm draped around the other's shoulders.

We stayed a long time, also speaking softly,

old friends who don't need to say that much,

yet never run out of things to say,

while the benches, the pond, the willows,

the swans, the Swan Boats and the ducks

were fading, receding - were becoming, already were, a memory.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society