David has previously published in The Australian, The Age, Overland, Tirra Lirra and Australian Poetry. He has had careers in education and theater. He now lives with his partner in Hobart, Tasmania.
THERE IS SOMETHING
There is something trying to enter the world.
I am its doorway.
I hear the sound of its approach from the darkness below,
from the basement, from the basement
with the furnace, the rusted furnace.
This thing is trying to enter the world and
I am its doorway.
I smell the smell of it from the darkness below.
It’s lemon-like, salty, animal-like, lively, as though
there were a sky down there and white clouds bouncing.
In the past I have opened and closed like any door
and at other times stayed somewhere in between.
At times, I have been locked and at others, unlocked.
I have not always been shut when I should have been
and have resisted opening when I should have been open.
I have not always done my job.
I have kept certain things in that should have been released
and allowed other things out that should have been retained.
This thing that is approaching wants an open door,
a freely-dancing exit to a welcoming world.
Perhaps, if I am attentive, poised, I will fly open
at just the right moment, let in or out splendid light.
Perhaps there’ll be arrows, music, sighing, gasping
and the thing will be gone and my job will be done.
A starving horse mouths dry soil,
her ribs and cow-like hips
make my own bones ache.
on the river-edge a bleached tree
hunches, roots exposed,
branches stiffly waving.
What a sight it would have been
drifting down – a dead galleon –
ghostly spars slowly turning
as the current churned, as the wind blew,
as cormorants landed, took off,
branches twitching as they leapt.
white branches signal semaphore
tell me how things are,
how they come, go, pass on,