It was like that long-ago moment when, after school,
A girl lay on her bed, legs in the air,
Peeling off black Lisle stockings to reveal naked legs,
Pale, hard, strong and so touchable and fair.

I was sanding black lacquer off kauri floorboards
Indecently forcing them into revealing sunlight.
From the 1880’s to the 21st century
Dull dark floors so shockingly white.

They could, they would, learn to be admired.
I rubbed in the oil, regular as tides,
Weeks, months, a year until, satisfied,
I saw the curl of blond hair, the glow of fire.

Some twinkled, a shallow sea covering tiny dunes.
Some full of worm grooves, channeled the oil
And formed dark Braille-like runes.

Gracefully they now accept new wounds; high-heels,
35-year-old Dinky toys, fire engine wheels,
Permanent markers too late banished to the gardening box.

I agree with them when I hear them speak
On my way to bed when it’s just them and me.
They sag and sigh and sometimes squeak.
I tread softly for they are my dreams.



4 thoughts on “Floorboards

  1. It’s a real link with the past, this one! Not only the house’s, but yours. I guess we’re all part of different pasts – so hard to escape visibility!

  2. Hi Janice,
    This is lovely. Especially the link at the end to one of my very favourite poems. But i think anyone who has lovingly restored something old will connect with this.

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