In the warm dusk, pink and purple arcs
appear above the old town’s lanes
as jugglers toss their clubs outside
a gallery’s bright, acrylic interior.
Petunias lean from baskets like cheerful spectators,
carriage horses wait in plumed rows
for tourists from the ship that dominates the wharf
below. A couple and their son pause
with the laughing crowd.
He allows himself to be photographed
against a fresco, along with trappers, traders and explorers.
— How thin he seems beside those ramparts…
His parents, under strict instructions not to look back
to see if he is following
but he has turned away
he has become hard to find in the shadows
at the audience’s edge.
Lights flicker and shift on his face
as he stares at a juggler’s jeweled midriff.
But he too is conjuring
glass constellations that glitter in his mind
an arc of possibilities thrown across the warm night sky.
What are they worth, those dreams
if they don’t burn like acid,
if they are not as heavy as uranium,
if they don’t scatter like quicksilver, only to return
when the rain, like a child,
brings its neighbourhood to your door?
Australian Book Review, 'States of Poetry' website March 2017