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Placebos


As a child, when I cried,
my mother would ask me
to think of something green,
I would close my eyes
and half a dozen ordinary plants
from our much loved garden
would flash by my mind's lens
green, greener, greenest
each lovelier than the rest;
in that moment's trance
I would sense my sobs still,
my cheeks cool and my chest
settle into a gentler rhythm
in tune with the world again.

Just a foolish untrue memory
is what I used to think,
for every time I tried this
naive but wonderful little trick
with my own heartbroken girl,
she would only weep even more,
until today, when, like Archimedes,
I had my own Eureka moment
at our neighbourhood park,
where, by a rusty old swing, I saw
perchance, a pretty young mother
cover her daughter's eyes
and whisper into her tears
"Think of a McAloo burger, dear."

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