Jessica

In my home town

You could open my front door

And look down the hill to the bay.

My home had an ornate Georgian veranda

A white timber fence and wire gate.

The street I lived in was wide and clean.

Turn left, and you walked into the city, turn right, and you headed to the hills.

When I was fifteen,

I would walk the back lanes

I would deliver papers for the newsagent

I would visit Jessica, who lived in a terrace house around the corner

She was red-haired, a beautiful girl

A beauty that I slightly, but not really, recognised.

Her father would collect books,

The front veranda was full of books

A person could reach across the front fence and take one

But no one ever did.

The front hall was lined on both sides with books

And the spare room could not be entered.

The rest of the house was neat and tidy.

It was Jessica and her father

Living in thousands of books.

She was the sweetest friend

We would go swimming in the bay in the summer

We would walk the hills in winter.

One winter night, we stayed out in the dark and lit a fire

She told me about her favourite books

She told me that her father suffered from nervous breakdowns

I told her about the planets

And she told me that what I thought was Mars was actually Jupiter.

The sky was endless black and stars

We walked home in the dark

The yellow glow of the city replaced the silver dust of night.

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