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The local cakeshops were not ethnic enough for us                              

A smouldering grid on a cypress stand

Well, why leave it there?  I say, let’s go the whole hog

Now with all seasons damaged under our savage dominion

She has signed the forms in her diffident hand

In the morning, I went out with the officials.

Here's how I first saw it.

A sort of colonisation took place here

Dropping jokes like shelled nuts along a path

A busload of adolescents and bureaucrats trade frisbees

Canberrans congregate in all seasons but especially this one

The abbot’s insistent: so much to do before

Unfazed by the coast road, we welcomed the challenge.          

From the yard’s galvanised subconscious, I watch

Because it was wet and neither of us felt like working

Not that hard to remember, or even to place

The paddocks present blind flanks to the sun

Only a currawong dialing the neighbourhood

Your grandfather steps lightly over the cold kitchen floor

It begins with an aleph, the diminutive

There should be a name for the special case

I had forgotten rain’s mechanism: how it doesn’t fall

The car’s dorsal wave carves off

The picture shows a man leaping from a second-floor window.            

As if to evoke the artifice of location

of its bearing on the land

Can we not take all these prizes as given?

As always, time’s sieve selects a myth from the facts

The line between white sky and white sea is smeared

How well I know that photograph from childhood’s mantelpiece

As if you had never known this light: saints, tunics

Our sun-cankered, frost-lacerated old bomb

Some took with them amulets, propped parasols, jade slaves,

‘Forgive me, sister, if my handwriting seems

Look at these hands: how scarred they are, how ugly.

Did it (as she reported in that flap of a note

Cloudshadow snags tussocks and scree

I know that there will be a night when we

After the clamour of choosing a captain

Bowler-hatted, unsmiling, moustachioed,

How you dazzled us, old chum, with the colour of that tree!

So there we were, jammed together/

on the back seat,

As if all the world’s ravelled, bright course

At first you hardly recognise them for what they are

In the warm dusk, pink and purple arcs

A filament lights a dark bulb of shops

Tonight, America, the stars above you have been blotted out                 

They are the harbingers of hard times for a business…

To be quiet and not crush

That you were conceived before the Afterwards of uncommon times

Oh, but it’s a race all right, trust me, kid, that

Vessels shaped by the light they hold

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