Poem in which a girl is dream house sitting

The man is 57, and one day,
standing in his study in her underwear
by the globe that is almost as tall as she is,
she calculates that he is 57 countries
away, depending on how you count them.
It is not her first bra, but the first
she has bought with her own money
and she wears nothing over it until late
into the day and when the sweaty UPS
man brings an antiquarian book to the door
she receives it so proudly that he does
not run his eyes all over her body and
when he gets back into the cab he thinks
of his wife and feels proud without knowing why.
Another day she is aimlessly patrolling
the half-kempt grounds of the estate,
when, under a row of naked, prickly,
arching trees, she finds what from a distance
appears to be a giant hedgehog, but
is in fact, less credibly, a sloth.
Surprise gives way to a new instinct
when she realises it is not quite yet dead.
She thinks vaguely about the Hunt which
trumpets through this land on occasion
as she scoops the sloth up. At the house
she nurses the sloth back to full recovery.
It is her first time house sitting. The man
Skypes her. She is eating pickled lemons
with pesto on water biscuits. He is satisfied
and eccentric. Everything, he says in a moment
of perfect synchronicity, in that beautiful fridge
is yours.

Gence Barbar

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