It’s too hot for ironing
but pure linen demands it
and it will pay me back
ten fold by this afternoon
in breathable cool
(although it will be creased again
by then
where the seat belts
where the bag rests in my lap
where I sit it into stubborn rucks)
I remember my grandmother’s
folded purple blanket
on the laminex table
which did for an ironing board
spotted with Reuleaux triangles
like scorched gothic windows
and the Saxa salt bottle
with perforated lid
full of distilled water
for sprinkling as she set the seams
on her sewing

 

weekend away—

a spider in the camping chair
comes with us

plumage sky spirals
silk-trimmed clouds

sitting down to lunch
bright-feathered

wompoo pigeon
dead at my feet

the beach keeps giving
pieces of sea-worn glass

2nd storey stories
come to mind
especially when you
stand looking out
from a 2nd storey
window onto trees
streets

I remember
looking out over
the garden of our
next door neighbour
Mr Pitt, short for
Pitendary
watching him with his hoe
in his garden

women inside
around the kitchen table
making piles of sandwiches
from square white loaves
into the tiny triangle
type of sandwich
for the annual ball

the enamelled teapot
the slow combustion stove

those days, like now
with blue skies
puffy clouds

and at work
looking into the branches
of tree
and down to the asphalt
playground
a desk next to the window

 

a shoal of glassy clinks

like a toast

of many friends

knocked by my heel

glasses packed aside

in a shoe box

thought I’d lost you

tiny glasses for port

amber sherry

liquors

small and fine

like you were

you looking up

into my face

laughing, watching

(in my mind, you still do)

I will raise each little glass

‘To Cathy’

sip sweet, sweet, sweet,

sweet as you, my friend

at our garage sale

fundraising for a dance

selling off my 50s dresses

to girls. I bought from you

patterned glasses

we laughed again

the nonsensical circles

our money just exchanged

for love and work

careful bookkeeper

so we could give, give

you remembered these,

passed them on

your Dad’s,

so small, so so many,

so much cheer

I iced my cake at our stall

licking the knife as you grinned

liking me for running late

arriving with the naked

warm cake

the wind whipped up

the tablecloth

we leaned against the wall

together

here is the framed picture

women sipping coffee

talking about books

on the Paris sidewalk

you gave it to me

for my wedding

to remember us

you reminded me

to relax, chillax,

enjoy this life

so I will make

these tiny glasses

into lights

make a laughing chandelier

to read by

your son gave us a light

when you died

to remember yours

we will

Just short of Nyngan,
you ran out of water,
jogging alongside the boiling car,
filling it – and yourselves – with the beer.
When you returned,
your scent was altered
into something yeasty,
and you had the biceps of a roadie.
Raving all night, about the desert
night sky, you left me breathless as the stars.

 All day we drive long straight lines

from A to B
and then from another A to another B again.
A desert wind rams the car
in the side, nothing
but noise.
Cattle and termites own the land,
frogs perch in Boab trees,
wedge-tails wait for roadkill
and the radiator boils like a billy.

We pass a hand painted sign to Lamboo
Station on the left and later
outside Russian Jack’s Bar
Vince tells us how the horses shy
during muster when the helicopters
come too low, all noise and wind,
and the young fellas fall from their steeds.

Vince remembers this place
being built, Teresa remembers
it was once run by an Aboriginal family.
We talk about going places,
children gone or lost,
Vince looks up and says the rain did not come
this way after all.
The air is still and close and warm tonight.

(dag 1 – 27)

Zes seconden:
We spraken met eenvoudige woorden.
Ik was vreemd in dit verhaal, koos

niet het zand,
het hollen van keien,
schietende planten,

niet het trekken van een pad,
het zweet van paarden, kamelen,
de kleur die de aarde versnijdt, niet

de ondrinkbare bron,
niet de tomeloze tijd.

Het is goed zich niet te schikken.

Een open hemel schittert.
Grond ligt voor.

Het is begonnen – en
of en hoe het eindigt –

(day 1 – 27)

Six seconds:
we spoke simple words.
I was a stranger in this story, chose

not the sand,
the running of pebbles,
sprouting shoots,

not the
the sweat of horses, camels,
the colour that dilutes the earth, not

the undrinkable well,
the boundless time.

We do well not to adjust.

An open sky shines,

Ground lies ahead.

It has started – and
if and how it ends –

– I’m composing in a rush
by Aspro’s grave –
the cat who mothered me
but whom I couldn’t save
with an ant bite and the poinsettia sap,
I cut and paste her
somewhere between the dead
and the line,
in the cicada air.

I am sitting on the back steps
……….of the farmhouse
………………..holding a baby’s bottle
out to small joey
………my arm is at full stretch
………………& he joey is pushing against the bottle
trying to get as close to me
………as possible without letting go
………………of the bottle
my father had gone hunting
………with Tom & the others
………………the night before
to clean the roos
………out of the mountain paddocks
………………before the seed went in
I was told we would have
………kangaroo tail soup
………………for dinner & couldn’t
imagine how kangaroos
………could hop
………………without their tails
they came back
………with a joey
………………found in his dead mother’s pouch
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