Outside Alice you’ll find
a house-covered hill,
row upon row gaping
roofless and doorless
– grimacing at some
corrupted contract left undone.
It is a ghost town
though no-one has lived or died here,
the rough streets have not rung
with children’s trills or mothers’ calls
– barren shells, the houses stretch
into the distance of broken promises.
The wasteland becomes a sketch
in my workbook, for I see a quilt
blanketing the skyline,
a hill covered in painted blocks
curiously coloured. (The painter
must have kept to his contract.)
Back home I turn the sketch
into a cotton quilt of happy houses,
doored, windowed and roofed
ready for occupation
in a world where no-one lives,
but promises are dreamt into fulfilment.