The moss comes back, grass
into the rock-hard, sun-burnt earth, as Autumn
tilts us away from warmth,
shivering with universal ice. Skies
unlove us. Winds butcher
the butcher blades on knives. And night
shrinks us stiffly in our skins,
reproaches us with outward-looking stars.
Now, futile enthusiasm and all our known know-hows
and we hunker down clueless,
forgetting to Summer, forgetting to be
something the season is not. Yes, every season
has its own sense of occasion: this one’s
for mood and melancholy,
for shifting outside ourselves a distance
to peer in at what the light years’ light yearning
cobwebs as consciousness
some call “self” — a broken thing
life can’t like — and that others learn not to call,
to go without, to leave be
till wild first flowers come back at the world
and the grass of feelings we no longer inhabit
grows up its vivid signal in us whole.
She took a full step, then a full stop.
Her attention? It had suddenly taken root — no,
not in retail but some tiny aspect in the footpath.
There they were, in a meandering crack
outside the Urban Grind café,
three miniature stars
forming the glittering crossbar
of Orion’s belt. Inwardly,
she joked to herself: Seeing stars again,
are we? For someone deep in the pockets
of Western sadness, the half-smile
in the tight corners of her face
was worth a whole kilometre of Brisbane frangipanis.
Rising, setting, orbit: her moods too
were celestial bodies: to spend a day
on some of them lasted enormous Earth years —
dust thick on the floors of craters.
How I wonder what you are! she sang to herself
inside a buoyant thought balloon, this
umbilical lullaby bedding her deeper in detail,
Down below the world so low,
like three diamonds in a row . . . No,
not diamonds, the sparkle of plate-glass windows,
impassive as an armed guard;
more like beacons pointing, absurdly, to some human interest
in a place where naturally (cigarette butts, saliva,
chewing gum, blood-stains) it was last
and least expected. She laughed out loud
at her down-mood then, told it to get lost for a while
and fast: Go pick on someone, your own sighs!
And the bougainvillea regalia twined in industrial fencing
over the road behind the bus-stop
just had to laugh through its pink flowers with her. Yes!
Good on you!