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A Retrospect Of Humidity

Written by: Les Murray | Biography
 All the air conditioners now slacken
their hummed carrier wave.
Once again we've served our three months with remissions in the steam and dry iron of this seaboard.
In jellied glare, through the nettle-rash season we've watched the sky's fermenting laundry portend downpours.
Some came, and steamed away, and we were clutched back into the rancid saline midnights of orifice weather, to damp grittiness and wiping off the air.
Metaphors slump irritably together in the muggy weeks.
Shark and jellyfish shallows become suburbs where you breathe a fat towel; babies burst like tomatoes with discomfort in the cotton-wrapped pointing street markets; the Lycra-bulging surf drips from non-swimmers miles from shore, and somehow includes soil.
Skins, touching, soak each other.
Skin touching any surface wets that and itself in a kind of mutual digestion.
Throbbing heads grow lianas of nonsense.
It's our annual visit to the latitudes of rice, kerosene and resignation, an averted, temporary visit unrelated, for most, to the attitudes of festive northbound jets gaining height - closer, for some few, to the memory of ulcers scraped with a tin spoon or sweated faces bowing before dry where the flesh is worn inside out, all the hunger-organs clutched in rank nylon, by those for whom exhaustion is spirit: an intrusive, heart-narrowing season at this far southern foot of the monsoon.
As the kleenex flower, the hibiscus drops its browning wads, we forget annually, as one forgets a sickness.
The stifling days will never come again, not now that we've seen the first sweater tugged down on the beauties of division and inside the rain's millions, a risen loaf of cat on a cool night verandah.



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