Under my coat, I pulsate
like a Dutch bulb ready to
emerge from its sepal.
I’ve already faced the darkest day
and settled in this soil
I want to rush this moment,
to reveal what I have become
but the travel has been more robust
than I’ve anticipated
I need to wait out this hibernation.
A half a life away now, a lingering
fog begins to lift, I notice even the
meagre trees are full of buds,
I think I hear a birdsong.
Let the days slowly lengthen; I
might not catch its first light but
my thoughts turn towards its warmth.
In spring, I shall emerge shawled
in ripened skin, perennial and strengthened.
Far off, a young girl departs from home
bearing down the path,
her beacon, the promise of the journey.
In (im)Perfect Agreement
Harmony is what they heard
when he strummed his guitar
my voice connected to his
while he was singing Margaritaville,
closing his eyes, garnering attention
I accidentally slipped off key
after, when there was no longer
an audience he yelled at me.
I couldn’t keep time, my rhythm
always a little off:
it was my own damn fault.
We would rehearse it all over again,
his talent: a natural performer-
played it all by ear
even though he could never hear me.
Our act had them all fooled
they listened, smiling to themselves
taping and nodding to the archetypes.
I can still recall those words, they haunt
me like ghosts from random devices:
it could be my fault.
Music and liquor ran through his veins
which may have been why he didn’t
find it inappropriate to teach me
that song, the family protected him
he was their youngest but the performance
had worn thin, away from the stage
the dark nursed his anger and thirst
a song could no longer quench
from behind the curtain the harmony
it was never my fault.
In Between Days
Often, I pass that little girl on the street
she whispers: see me.
Eyes full like the sky and moon,
her lips hold a secret
but her face speaks
a wide constellation of freckles
her body seems to float
unaware, she balances the world
at her feet.
I recognise her curiosity and catch
a whiff of her innocence.
Between the public garden
and the cemetery we pass each other
I could pretend not to see her
and then she startles me and
says “hello” –
my whole life rushes by
in the afternoon light
I lose her as she slips round the corner
and just like the sunshine that warms
my cheeks youth returns for an instant
and I am reminded how I ended up here.
Follow me, it directed
the way a calf is steered by its mother.
Docile and curious, I obey
hugging the water’s edge.
The creek was made redundant
by the old factory but has not retired.
Repurposed by stones and roots
flowing for treading fish
and the trill and song of birds,
it sustains natural life
no longer concerned with
a waterwheel or profit
I watch it, as it
runs and leads
because I cannot keep up.