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Balloon Season

Canberrans congregate in all seasons but especially this one.


As warm fronts sulk against flywire isobars,

crowds pause between flowerbeds in ritual commiserations of rainshadow,

to take in the clarity of that hessian light, or to watch galaxies

gritty with wheatbelt sand in carpark observatories.


But now thundercloud spinnakers turn the ridges’ prows

into the pinewind: summer is checked.

Tussock paddocks are flecked with mist. 

Balloon flotillas, flung like exclamation marks

across dawn’s archipelagoes


alarm dogs with their exhalations. “Come on!” you said, taking my hand,

“I want to see them land!” But they seem to speed up


as they near the ground, as if coming in to land

were to gather all remaining time’s drifting tethers.

Newcastle Poetry Prize anthology 2008

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