No details exist of what act occurred except
some we might imagine from evidence—
a silky thong of vibrant blue and dainty trim
of yellow lace, left lying in a little heap
on the pavement—fallen, like a spent cartridge
at a battle scene, outside the black railings
of a Georgian house with fanlight and lion knocker
on its bright red door, facing the canal bank—
all leaves and seats and of course the water,
seeming still until its big white gushing hurry
over the lock; that kind of rush might just have led
to the abandonment on the path of this underwear
like dog’s doings to be frowned upon and stepped around.

Lovingly tended beds inside the railings boast
a show of colour: Red Hot Pokers—upright, vivid,
orange—throbbing with nectar. Next to them are long
bare stems of Amaryllis (so-called Naked Ladies),
topped by rich pink scented flowers, such inviting funnels,
so sensual, so poisonous, this Belladonna’s cousin.

Scraps of the drama flick through our minds—bare legs,
a miniskirt’s hem, heels perhaps, and from behind
a man’s back seen in streetlight. A high white moon
eyes itself inside the canal; we sniff the night’s breath,
hear the water’s fall beyond, and muffled human sounds.
Railings gripped, held, all else dropped. Love seems unlikely,
despite the backcloth, to have flourished on that stage.