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An Unclosed DoorAllen Curnow
Vol. 13 No. 12 · 27 June 1991

An Unclosed Door

Allen Curnow

206 words

Freshened by any wind, sanitised
with pine and cypress, the slaughterhouse

is cool as a church inside. High rafters
too. A gallery. The hooks hang ready.

Nothing else intercepts the day’s late
blaze across the Seven Sleepers’ chins

and Cooper’s Knobs, on this point between
adjacent bays, only a blotched light

can get past, as the wind in the trees,
fidgeting to the doorway. The door

on its iron track having been wheeled back
wide enough, the small boys, me and Bob

Crawford, can see in. One of the men
turns our way, in the act of closing his

left hand on the lamb’s throat, at the bass
viol the right, the bowing hand slashes

deep! in blood stepped in so far will up
to the eyes or the ears be enough?

They’re all busy now, the hosing down
will have started. Add water and sweep

shit pellets puddled blood, the outfall
gulps, discharges over the rock-face

misting all the way to the green bay
water, with a noise of waters, where

the round stain dilates. An enrichment
I think the children had been silent, all

this time. I will have pulled my bike, off
his, on the tree. Nothing alters this

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