Walking the Overland Track - Day 5
I shed my clothes like an awful first draft, splashing river
on my face and into places used to their own company.
In the sibilant rush, after so many days on the trail unwashed,
my mouth makes loud vowels of shock and appreciation
and my soles slip across the rocks’ skin like speed readers’ fingers.
I look down to find my body being edited, its pages
harshly corrected with black punctuation.
My hands slap at apostrophes and commas,
their possessives and contractions claiming my blood.
They engorg into dashes Emily Dickinson would covet
and fll of stolen content they race end for end
across my skin, challening my sensitive narrative
with their bold third-person revisions,
opening and closing quotes with wild abandon.
This poem was collected in Best Australian Poems 2015
If you were a scoop of vanilla
And I were the cone where you sat,
If you were a slowly pitched baseball
And I were the swing of a bat,
If you were a shiny new fishhook
And I were a bucket of worms,
If we were a pin and a pincushion,
We might be on intimate terms.
If you were a plate of spaghetti
And I were your piping-hot sauce,
We’d not even need to write letters
To put our affection across,
But you’re just a piece of red ribbon
In the beard of a Balinese goat
And I’m a New Jersey mosquito.
I guess we’ll stay slightly remote.
William Carlos Williams is a genius. And he has my lover’s initials. Or rather my lover has his initials. I often eat the plums that were in the icebox. But I don’t expect to be forgiven. Not everything depends on that. Or the wheelbarrow of promises that still lies at the bottom of his heart. My lover likes plums. The ones with the tough skins and the scarlet flesh. Not the yellow. We like the same food. Except for chops. I won’t eat lambs to the slaughter. Once I was called a ‘goo goo-eyed vegetarian’. Which basically means I won’t eat anything cute. Because it would almost like me eating myself. Lambs are cute. Baby cows are cute. And pigs are definitely cute. So they are all out. Even mutton dressed as lamb. But I eat chicken and fish and sometimes beef. If it isn’t veal. He lived on a farm once. So he hates sheep. He tells me that sheep are the stupidest animals ever. They deserve to be eaten. He even tells me the story about how sheep follow each other in straight lines and that the earth becomes shiny and solid beneath their feet. And he and his brothers would ride along their little tracks. On their bikes. Red bikes. Like the red wheelbarrow in his heart. One day he might even grow me some plums so that I can pick them and put them in our icebox. I want a red Smeg fridge. I want me whole kitchen to be red. He draws the line at a red fridge. He has never heard of Smeg. Smeegle. Smorg the dragon. He doesn’t understand the importance of a big, red, expensive fridge. He thinks fridges are just for keeping things cold. Like plums.
This poem was collected in Best Australian Poems 2015.