Read Poems by
In shot snap seconds, everything changed.
The horror was sudden -
a shatter-shower of bullets
bouncing off rock.
The picnic I'd laid so carefully
blew apart - black olives
tossed into the air like fat flies,
the watermelon's pink guts splattering.
Gun aimed at me.
Gun to his head: bang bang.
Self-felled, he was dead.
Fire ate the car.
The human heart finds hidden resources.
I was on a sand-land trek through nowhere,
following songlines, outside of time,
walking in Dreamtime, dreaming the Dreaming.
I was floundering in sand-seas,
wading light-dunes, drought-parched,
thirsting for drink-water blue.
Suddenly, you -
flash of painted flesh,
brown, smooth-bark skin,
lizard head loincloth -
black buzz of inkspot flies.
Windsongs fluttered my sarong
like your native flag -
black sky-stripe of night,
red sand, lifeblood of land,
yellow disc of sun.
A pool opened its blue eye - iris of cool.
I stripped, dived into crystal water-glint, dipped
beneath the surface; carefree, soul-freed.
Desert rustled its secret sand-script:
scarlet sting of scorpion,
skin-prickle of termite -
echidna's spiny ball uncurled.
Kookaburra's laughter echoed upwind.
Snake swallowed lizard, quick tongue flick.
Dark spear, spearing quick-jump kangaroo -
knife-skinned, lopped limbs crackle-roasting,
sinew strings looping like the songlines.
Rock-table land, salt pans,
the sun's red plate, bottlebrush-scoured.
Unspoken words of separate worlds
were nothing next to you.
We were wall-worded, word-divided,
but I dreamsang the silence,
hoped you'd understand.
And I thought if I reached
to touch your bark-brown hand
I might penetrate that ancient dreaming land.
But never did.
My words and dreams stayed locked inside.
Days sun-seared, nights star-burned.
You trance-danced the Dreaming far into night.
Distant dingoes' distress drifted on wind...
And I woke to a different dream;
found you branch-dangling from eucalyptus,
gilt-framed in knife-strike light,
tribal feathers trailing.
Strange dreaming man, tree-hanging.
I had to go on alone.
And I did.
Living a plastic life I cannot reconcile,
I stare out at plastic-sheeted swimming pools,
kids' plastic dolls, a boomerang's plastic scythe.
The smoky words of Gasoline Alley
billow from the radio; I tune it in
and tune out my husband's work-wittering.
Look beyond walls, to where you're a silhouette
in my mind's Dreamtime;
traverse language lines, the heart's strange lexicon.
I'm walking the wordless plain again,
the sky a cinnamon simmering stain,
the sun setting, as hurt-heart memories wane.
*That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
the happy highways where I went
and cannot come again.