The Come Down

Olive green blurring to dirt and the sky white as paper. Currawongs. Isolation.

Tree branches curled in brace position

and leaves with tips like seismometer needles

in the awestruck eye of morning.

 

The night before we’d driven up a steep ramp

to oblivion, drawn heavenwards by music.

I’d written down what I could hear

which was poetry.

 

Waking up behind the wheel

with moon dust on the windshield, caking us in.

We burst out into bushland and saw a bird,

rare as a platypus, with AstroTurf plumage

and a traffic cone beak. Our totem.

 

It could only be auspicious.

We would marry each other and buy a hut out here,

call it ‘Glue’. I’d set up a typewriter

and write poetry nude. We’d have children.

They’d be tan skinned, like you.

 

The bird flew into the sky and pierced its glass.

Ice rain peppered the ground; ice shrapnel.

From the deck we watched a wallaby hop

like a soldier who’d wandered into no man’s land

as, for minutes and minutes and minutes

the snare drum sound of hailstones

cried war, war. It was a queasy beauty

and we watched, queasily, in silence, for minutes.

 

The wallaby gave up and huddled by a frail tree,

snout twitching, until the hail stopped.

Then it bounded off across a crystal carpet

bright in the sudden sun.

 

My notebook lay open from the night before

like a postcard to myself from space

but I didn’t write about the bird or the hail;

I didn’t have the ability.

I was a sculpture, shaped by your hands,

waiting to be fired in the furnace of our breakup.

 

You sculpted a bird and I was gratified to learn

the wings worked. They were useful

when you threw me out into the air

of my future.