In limelight overlit dusk light,
grey spray of wiry York gum,
taste-test analogy—jam tree
on crest capped green,
a tussle, de-camp philology,
success is just okay elsewhere,
but don’t succeed here.
They demanded he change
geography. It’s an issue
of lateral space, he said.
Down with the ship.
Roof stuck to the tongue
of mouth. And so, said the bird,
goes I in the waves of smoke
and pollen. Back-tracking.
I open to sunset or just after
the pseudo-grey glow, pink verged out,
to open the body on a black spreadsheet,
this holy night, as holy as stress fractures
in orders; we keep dead trees on the rise,
we make our prayers and catechisms,
as only change can happen. On a stray excursion
to Meckering, threaded back through Grass
the focus became the wall that didn’t
fall on the cot;
the hundred houses and businesses
dropped by the quake and marked by plagues,
and the railway lines twisted like toffee,
and the house left apart, the wall that fell
away from the baby. A Simplified Catechism
from the mid-1940’s—my mother’s,
a summary of the matters, the benefits of,
and visible sign, duty, inward visible sign;
I remember internal provinces;
I remember dressmakers’ dummies
in my grandmother’s back room and gender
I remember idioms of parrots introduced
into the silky oak, picket fences wailing
with the sea-breeze;
I remember boom and bust scenarios
in my father’s under-the-weather Kingswood
gently my French improves as I listen on—our
absorbing bilingual, speaking doucement and
as grey hair is pulled by the handful;
can I say vocation, egoist in denim?
Can I say it’s dark where I admire
heatwaves and imprints?
It’s late. The fire has overheated
and we’re almost gasping for air;
an irregular diary fills in the gaps.
The baby in the cot sees the wall drop,
knew better than most of the animals’ silence.