Runcible Spoon

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The Time of Shrinking


Now is the shrinking time.

At the fair face painters shrink

their images – tiny worms

and butterflies. A woman sighs.

How lovely they look on her,

and how quietly she sits

in the sun.

Trees are shrinking

and birds have vanished,

their black columns

spreading like smoke in the wind.


The woman takes little steps,

turns back to the gate.

She stands six inches high

on her hill of sand. A tall man

shrinks and shrinks until

his nose meets the ground.

It is the time of shrinking,

time of molecules and light.

Along the avenue, cars shrink

away and ghosts of elms

whisper about the depth of roots.