We sat around the kitchen table
a parliament of pleas.
Then a rat — huge —
almost the size of a possum
came through the louvred windows
& grazed the formica like an entitled guest.
Three damaged men lived there —
one abruptly jobless, another
Kawasaki-smashed on bitumen
the third so politely dropped
from the One Great Love.
Our cat at the far end of the table
watched us gravely,
then nodded towards the visitor
who stood still as a commandment
over a loaf of bread.
This place — depending on the wind
you could hear the waves
or the roar of highway traffic.
The swamp out back
cackled in its busyness.
Some cloud pillowed the sky
of that flawless day.
Despite the upper body cast
Matt rolled a joint with a placid deftness.
I opted for cider as usual, bleeding condensation,
the droplets caught light & promised.
It has always gentled my head & contains vitamin C.
Mosquitoes got dressed for work,
our guardian spider primed her filaments
as neighbours argued at the dusk.
The cat yawned.
Each thing could see clearly
in opposite directions.
Something new, acoustic, seeped out from the speakers.
The paintings in the lounge were just sugar on the light.
There was no hope
so no worry.
That day refused to plan.
Perhaps immobility is grace.
When the captain gave up plunder
he began inscribing
a memoir of consequence
on the shell of a lime-green snail.
Carrying the burden —
those notes on the nature of treasure —
this marauding mollusc ate through
the passivity of upland forests.
Oaks, finding themselves naked, withdrew their roots
& followed that hungry speck
down to a river where a hymn of water-lilies
promised shelter in an end.
Staunch cattails applauded,
those trees with a century of project
discovered that all along they were lumber
hiding within their weak skin of life.
He had tried the pipe & cuddle
but our captain saw that truth bore a harder carapace.
As logs bobbed up against his jetty
the crew returned because
this was the single path they recognised
even though it led only to the next atrocity.
There is epiphany here
but is it seaworthy?
What does she think?
Left before the war, everyone said she had a knack.
Within a year of arrival here
she had a business importing those olive oils
we’d previously thought were just medicine.
It was on the news…
her village was scoured with excuses, geopolitics.
People scattered, Marja claimed in an interview
we were her people now.
The instrument she plays
was traditionally reserved for men, strokes
strings with a disloyal intensity.
Last year someone burnt the Sydney warehouse down.
Her husband was deeply loved
as much as his flaws allowed.
He was inside at the time.
You make your own blessings.
The children mourned his passing
except one who challenged the will.
Australian police, Australian insurance —
she occasionally shakes her head at this ordered society.
Much remains beyond comprehension,
she wears her black lightly
& drives a new Audi.