A web waves in the warm breeze,

caught between ancient wooden struts,

indefensible, beneath an empty seat.

It splays to breaking point; 

fine-knit, like a fibre-glass veil;

delicate strength resisting air.

Behind, purple bell-shaped blooms bow their heads in unison,

deferring to the weight

of a sprinkler’s misty jet,

that fans out in the shape of victory.

But it is not these shimmering droplets

that crystallise quietness;

nor the opaque haze,

as heat warps the scene into film;

it is not even the web, hanging on, precarious,

like angel-hair, suspended,

where even one breath might fracture the whole.

My quiet distils

to single drips

echoing inside a hollow barrel,

like an insistent broken tap

in a sleeping house at midnight,

incessantly filling night’s spaces

until dawn arrives again.

Virginia Betts 2020

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