Do the Preparation task first. Then go to Text and read the poem or story (you can also listen to the audio while you read). Next go to Task and do the activity.
The bright dresses
After your addio - breathless, banal, the click
of the telephone, I came out into Corso Vittorio
Emmanuele. Milan's glorious main street:
rows of posh shoe shops, buckles and toecaps
on tip toe behind thick glass; at the end of the
boulevard the cathedral spires like the tails of
old seahorses: rigid, brittle and upside down;
sunlight all round me in a hot, close envelope,
with its smell of coffee and expensive briefcases;
words on the air from the English lesson I had
just been teaching: "Sylvia never arrives late.
Tom loves pop music and small dogs."
This is the present simple for habit. It goes on
and on I was saying. Then down the road
they came: three bright dresses in yellow, pink
and peacock blue, blurring to blobs of floating
colour inside the tears in my eyes. They jangled
the words, advanced unbearably bright towards
me: Sylvia loves pop music. Tom never arrives
late. Small dogs. Small dogs. Never. Loves.
by Robert Seatter
With kind permission of the poet, previously published in Poetry as a Foreign Language, edited by Martin Bates, White Adder Press, 1999