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By Michelene Wandor.

The signals are divided according
to need.

when she is ready to go
she takes a mirror from her
handbag; moving her head
round and from side to side
inspects without noting

he transfers a handkerchief
from one pocket to another,
wiping his nose between transactions.

it has never been known to fail.

going home in the car sometimes
she has said gently: some dust
in my eye;
or he has sneezed


Michelene Wandor is a poet, playwright, musician and broadcaster. Her two most recent poetry books are published by Arc Publications: Musica Transalpina (a Poetry Book Society Recommendation), and The Music of the Prophets. Her review of Dominic Sandbrook’s State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974 is here.

© 1972 Michelene Victor (Wandor). This poem was first published in The Little Magazine (London) in April 1972 and is republished here with permission. This work is one of a series of excerpts from literary and art journals not otherwise available online. Selected works are being republished at irregular intervals in The Fortnightly Review’s New Series.