croupiers’ caps in re-inforced ice-cream, in
tennis shorts, in
cakebox and flipflops –
in fours and fives, a lock’s worth,
the circus white horses / cattle, weighty-afloat,
the tall bleached shires with cold blue vizors –
the past master shotputters, the mooer-and-shaker, wagering stockbrokers,
the flecked-wedge white horses,
bovine, lining up
in the dainty tonnage contest
(sleeps two times two, plus two).
In the acting captain’s jargon
did I mention the glint of stauntion?,
how the klaxons bugle dense champagne –
or sparkling wine at least –
how the secret cleats
lie low, half ashamed
of the galleon carton?
The tenders on tenterhooks expect
the dregs (fluffed up), the float-trot
to worry the weed-wisp water,
to swill the willow-shadowed shallows,
to spread that turbo spit.
The lotion-going powerboats
gargle past apologetic patios,
spinnaker swans and grasping coot.
Their engines churn and spurt, slosh
the coughs of brilliant white froth.
“Kids, keep to the path.”
above, ahead,
the motorway bridge.

from Lucky Day (Carcanet, 2005), © Richard Price 2005, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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