Sydney

by Susan Varga

It's been a long time,
you old harlot.
From my rented flat I see
your big-ticket items –
solid arc of Bridge,
glinting slivers of Opera House.

Still heart stoppers, old girl.

This corner of the Cross is
the closest I'll get to Europe now.
You were my second home, Sydney,
until I deserted you for a quieter life.

Now I'm back, watching for clues, threads,
pushing my ailing body around your streets.

I take my small companion
onto your piss-riddled pavements
crazed with old tree roots.
She stops at every smell,
sniffs layer upon layer.

I sniff too – air heavy with
shops coffee noise food garbage –
and the heady scent of human stories.

In these back lanes
worn apartment buildings shrug off
drunks and druggies with weary elegance.
They whisper, 'come live amongst us,
we'll weave you close again.'

Sydney you old harlot,
press your brittle bones against
my warming skin.
Make me feel alive again.

From Griffith REVIEW Edition 44: Cultural Solutions © Copyright Griffith University & the author.