As if to emphasise the artifice of location
the town’s outskirts barely serve as that:
the stillness of things happening elsewhere.
Bales of shade stacked under the long verandahs.
Children from the station-wagons ticking by the kiosk
cling like aphids to a submarine that rears
above the carpark, heading out to where
cows are consulting the stringybarks.
Heat rises like fumes from bowsers, the brick
bulk of the Boys’ Club. A straw baker
slumps against yesterday’s blackboard specials.
Between the antiques emporium and the stock agent,
the hotel, propped high on its forepaws,
watches the fences behind the mechanics’ institute
scraping paddocks into stubbled schemes.
Willows lean in veteran etiquette towards
an advertisement for tea that occupies the whole side of a house,
confident as its era of brown satchels labourers used to carry for their lunch,
bands on shunters’ fedoras.
If we no longer see miracles performed, it may be
because we no longer haggle with divinities.
My grandfather, believing the sun had to shine
on its birthday, at least once, always saw it shine
on a Thursday, and here it is! A monstrance for the route
sharp and high as the lovely, keen places
of the mind, as if the sky were a mirror, shattering
in the sparks from a welder’s torch that flare
from a dark doorway.
Look around, look up:
the sun ploughs the absurdities of destination
and departure, becomes a rotunda, a point
to the highway’s exclamation mark.
In the rear-view mirror, the stars are wound
from west to east, a glimpse of thunderclouds
shucked like a tarpaulin from the distant ranges
as if the sky had frayed
revealing what was
and what is to be
San Pedro River Review, August 2011