Double Take

It was my birthday.

In time-honoured wont

I took the bus to the Rubicon

for tea and cake with Uncle Pete,

Master of Treats and Ceremonies.


The Tea Room chinked and tinkled, snug

with radio hum and finger crooked

genteel folk - all right and proper.

In the lulling, hum-drummed buzz

and the fullness of tea and time

the crazed mirror tranced and fogged

and a boy swam in its fathom.


The double take threw back a year

and Ziggy’s circus loomed.

In my cornered eye, a ring drilled bear

danced a hot iron dance

to the dark-heart beat of the rousted crowd,

in a lumbering circle of madness.


For the blink of a wakening eye

I bore his infinite ring of misery.

To the startled crack of the radio whip

the jolted Tea Room chinked again;

I stared dumbfound into the fathom

and met my father’s eyes -


The image held.

The double take gave back the Rubicon

and Uncle Pete, but the boy was lost forever

in the mirrors craze.



By Stella Wulf