Where was it we left him?
We say the journey’s up, but maybe
memory sinks deeper.
Our journey so far
When my granny was dying
I’d go into her bedroom
and look at her
A black summer night, no moon, the thick air
drenched with honeysuckle and swamp gum.
In a pool of yellow torchlight
on a knife-blade, the brand name
The old hull’s spine shoots out of the mud-flat,
A black crooked finger pointing back to the house.
On the dead low the smell of the mangroves.
The river seeps through the window, the books
A step taken, and all the world’s before me.
The night’s so clear
stars hang in the low branches,
Writing this in sepia ink on a Japanese fan,
pain slants my calligraphy
this way, sex just under the cap of my skull.
We loved the front, your wall of words,
and the fact that snatches made
sense to the professors. We read
The Double Dream Of Spring on a jetty
Morning before sunrise, sheets of dark air
hang from nowhere in the sky.
No stars there, only here is river.
They are talking, in their cedar-benched rooms
on French-polished chairs, and they talk
in reasonable tones, in the great stone buildings
they are talking firmly, in the half-light