Look over your shoulder for the hustle of words.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Memory of Her


Sprinkled leaves leaped and spun and
gently spattered out Morse messages
for me, for you. Little love letters.

Your hand in mine. My hand trailing
loosely through the sun and thousand
vagrant breaths of strangers.

Gininderra on our left, twinkling.
Stark crow crowned hills of dust
and pine shouldering boulders on our right.

This was our day; this is how I hold it
gently in my mind still. You, sweet girl,
your shaking hand in mine.

Fear had thumbed shut your eyes and
made me transparent. It could have been acid.
It would have made no difference.

I knew and drank your tremor in;
trying to spread you
trying to stretch the little
the stinging meagre little I had garnered
and subsist.

My intestines screaming, neck as stiff
as your resolve -

Your resolve to love me with
a cupped palm, full of spilling hours.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Upon meeting Him Who Will Be Your Husband


Wake. The clothes, starched, pressed, smooth
against the bed were still, said still words to me
(calm calm calm yourself woman, be still like us).
Assent.

Prepare. The shatter of water and
squeezed-tight-eyes and shampoo everywhere
and shit, shit, where is the towel?
Hands stumbled like kindergarten children
clutching, fumbling, grabbing.
Relief.

Mistake. The plan is askew, you
are behind a deadlock without a key.
Trapped here while he waits,
what to do? Set your jaw, become a reverse burglar
and break out. Later you will worry about
the dislodged screen, hanging like a
dead open palm. No time, no time!
Rush.

The rest flows around you.
You are in the stream, you see the minute
motes and strings of experience above, beside you.
His pale face, his hair in puckered curls,
his tight body hugging you, reluctantly releasing you
(he wanted to hold me longer, I think, did I imagine that?).
His mother pouring tea into bone cups and clattering
about weather and university and you both
nervously staring across the room
not hearing a word;
only eyes and hands are working today.

Yes, you are still.

Turning, I see...


Night is tight on the tracks of the crow
that are scattered 'round my lids
and I sigh, stretch, sigh
ribs fall and rise
and all is still close and thick and dark.
I clasp it in my fists, I curl my jaws
around the evening to keep it
just a moment longer.
I want this to last
just a moment longer.

a slight, waifish piano score floats
from the shamble of next door.
Washed in this I wait for the clench
of energy to come to me, to summon me
from this soft ethereal head

and turning I see He
like the Gods have scattered Him there
and I afford all my focus, all my vision to these:

a heft of endless curls
a turned down mouth
a blitz of sun-spit
a beard of pitch for nesting birds
a chest leaping with swords and Newton
and all about him the world turns
unaware that He is here
unaware that He defines
unaware that His hands can unmake time

can unmake me, at least.

Innerscape

Fry of noon belts her head.
She's dam running, setting to one side
the glare of an angry father.

She can throw it away,
flicking out elbows and chin
bounding and scrambling
and clawing over the bare cheeks
of granite.

Shining calves
run with sweat as they pump and push
through un-named scrub and un-tamed bush and
you are all invited to watch, to see
as she breathes deep,
inhales her curdling self
as the melt of her
falls
frees
pauses and drips
from freckles to mouth.

She trips.
Blood surprises spring from
both knee and lip but they're
soon fixed with a thumbful of mud
and a gumleaf.

Ten years old, she cocks her head
and stands with fists upon
her fatless hips.
Apple breasts
and ambitions small enough to cup
between her grubby fingers...

So many seasons run away,
Yet still I linger, hunger in
Acacia stands and granite screes
To find bravery.

gardening at the women's hospice

Her nails are smooth like the curve of apples
and their delicate passage from plate to mouth
mark almost visible lines of plaintive grace in the air;
bent knuckles hide strong, thin, Wedgewood bone
that do not crack or pop or creak like mine.

Mine are op-shop tack and kitsch and revel in
the brassy nagging of the dirt;
gaudy printed gloves, two dollar whore's enamel and
giant mugs splashed by sunflower patterns.
I am a candle, she is a chandelier

and yet, there is something democratic
in the tea, the flowers
and in the dying.