There’s a photograph of me with my mother – a rare backyard shot;
me perched on the bonnet of the white Escort van, my mother
standing beside me, bare-kneed in a homemade dress,
pockets stitched on the front like an apron,
our bodies not quite touching.

All her love is in the gap between us –
in the way she has wiped and stilled her hands,  
in the way she’s willing to stand and wait
while my brother frames the shot, and in how
she has closed her ears to the sound of the shop’s bell
for that brief moment of time. We wait for the camera’s click,
hold our smiles against a weak Western District sun.
It’s my tenth birthday.
For some reason, I’m wearing flippers.



New World

In the house

the walls have changed colour            the shadows lengthened           
the intricate pattern of ordinary days            and extraordinary moments

has unravelled into a jumble sale            what to throw out
what keep            the sorting exhausts me

I don’t know where to sit            the sunlit mosaic courtyard
mocks me             with its single chair

the walls and floor don’t agree anymore
the places I sit and you sit            are no longer interchangeable           

we cannot escape
the doorways                     open at each end of the house

At night

all the stars are drowned by city lights
there’s no sorrow in this washed out sky; too pale for angst
or romance
the poetry has gone                        I can’t write
my body takes the hit                peeling off the kilos
until the day I wake up and notice
I’m starving to death                        amongst all the richness of the world                                   

Driving south for Easter

towards a place I’d forgotten was home
we drive across rivers, up mountains                        reach the plateau
years pass by in the shape of clouds           
the children remember how little they are                        in this adult world

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