glint of grasses tangled up Merri Creek,
spiky, matted, captured in shadows and highlights,
trailing to the image edge and beyond
I am simply here, recording testimony to the miracle of life,
no more, no less than the spinebills,
darting in circles before me, or the white cockatoos,
screeching in the gully below
On the road I saw many flowers and crosses.
One stands out – ‘MISS YOU’ ,
block letters scrawled into a rock.
There is no deeper pain than the pain of missing you.
My heart dances at the thought of seeing you again.
Nothing compares to your laughter, the flourish of your hand
caressing the passing breeze,
Orion sets in the western sky, among the coolibahs.
In the half-moon light I am witness to my own grief
and my own salvation.
A grey blanket covers the land.
Torrential rains feed the myths of the grey green rivers
and the red brown earth.
My breath, a tremor, my life, a dream.
I am stuck in the ink-black amnesia of Ivanhoe,
along with the pig-hunters who have come unstuck,
lucky to drag their haul into town through the clinging mud.
The Wilcannia road is closed, I will go back to Hay.
It doesn’t seem to matter if I go here or there, this way or that way,
sooner or later a glorious fire will consume me.
‘I can see the little boy in you,’ Anselm says,
when I talk about my father and mother fighting for custody
at the kindergarten gate.
But the Bisto gravy, Don Cockell days are over,
I am going home, wherever that is –
for now I head for the Northern Rivers,
back to the hump and spire of Wollumbin,
the cascade curve of Koonyum,
winter evenings under the Bilbao lamp
and the transcendent smile of my beloved daughter.
bassoon, curdle and yip, cricket frenzy
as dusk closes in on Woolshed Flats
now silence descends in the ironbark glow,
flames murmur and prostrate,
when sleep comes, bejewelled embers remain