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Poetry

Ordinary things

I was out walking yesterday or perhaps it was today

when a man young as a son spoke under his breath: go

back home, he said, you belong. There, not here. Before

not now. This is not the first time, time was confused.

Tomorrow I go for a jog to let my slab of fat dance

and a woman pushing an empty pram stares,

imagining a past and a place of return I cannot.

I leave the suburbs, and the slithering hills

are nice until they realise I am ignorant

of their names; I am walking away

to the place I live in, and the sun is wetting

my hair, wilderbeasting my body, adding weight

to every step. I shop in a convenience store

and the old man there nods to me, eyes filmed

over with where he used to be. His mouth

opens, throat bulging, and he ejects a red brick

small and perfectly formed. He says I will need it

some day. To build a bridge or a home? I ask, but

he doesn’t seem to think there is a difference.

I put the slick brick in my pocket. It is light as

the wind, heavy as a country. I return

to the house I grew up in and the house tells

there is no succour to be found in the past.

Outside, I see two men in love as a feature

of the landscape, their fingers reaching up

to tender sky. They spit into my hands red

sap I will need some day to mortar. I travel

into my flimsy chest, my lizard brain,

find a refrain of no and go and back and

land and man and home and beneath this

an echo of milk and brick, corn and breakfast,

you know, the ordinary things.


From Griffith Review Edition 56: Millennials Strike Back © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

Griffith Review