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I’ve spent a lot of time this week
looking through the large square of glass
that is this short-lease apartment’s western window,
watching the older couple who live
on the same level in the neighbouring high-rise.  

They always seem to be in view:
one of them sitting in a chair,
one of them plodding between rooms,
as if they’re making an effort at
putting on a show for me. Perhaps
they’re thinking the same thing
when they look this way and see
I’m still here, seated at one end
of this foldout table, facing my screen.
I do my best to look busy. Yesterday  

I watched them do the breakfast dishes:
the old man’s forearm moving in circles
around and around as he scrubbed the plates,
the old lady waiting patiently beside him,
the tea-towel draped over her arm.  

Every afternoon they sit together on the sofa
in their conservatory, facing the empty beach,
filling in the crossword from the morning paper.
If tomorrow’s forecast holds good,
and the winter sun returns,
perhaps they’ll open their ranch slider
to the balcony and eat lunch al fresco.  



Claire Orchard’s  poetry has appeared in various journals including Landfall, Sport, Sweet Mammalian, The Rialto, Atlanta Review and Best New Zealand Poems. Her first collection of poetry, Cold Water Cure, was published by Victoria University Press in 2016.