To the back lies those thoughts
of idle fingers touching the day
clasping domesticity with entwined arms
the strip of sunlight,
slicing shards of branch and curtain.
Burning its warmth
across an open palm placed for sleep.
This role stirred in youth;
my best friends floor, her parents pottering,
the kitchen sounds their presence.
The sacred place of sleep
bare breath, sharing the unconscious.
Lying in separate worlds together,
stealthily inching molecules towards you
and felt in the silence of Sunday,
rain kicked up by the heels of trucks,
my moment of allocated time.
Why have you come here?
To be your friend, to talk to you
Ah – it is because you love me still.
In its initiation I thought about civility.
Devising a blue-print,
a map of a city.
Multiplied and subtracted
there were plenty of circles
that overlapped without remainders
(unless divided by indecision).
The conclusion is complicated but its core structure
has something to do with virtue –
as well as practicality.
It is a modern adaptation or a provincial, cobble-stoned court.
I settled on this image seeing chivalry stoop
to kneel my conclusion.
I’d miscalculated one important detail:
your title is only something that struts.
Reminded of Chevalier and Manon
in the bar he too watched her out of the corner of his eye.
Drinking speeches of love, instead of beer.
He told his mates he had moved on.
I have my pride, I was betrayed.
Laughed as they recreated her and tried to believe her stupidity.
Then he went home and wept,
in sobbing remembrance and disbelief
hoping to be held and felt again.
You always assumed my place of loving you still.
I’ve never been that close.
Actually, I was inching ahead long before you turned around and conceded.
I have been imagining the thought,
running towards true beauty.
The garden by our flat
has been meticulously tended
by some unseen hand.
Working at night to recreate scenes of domesticity
that none of us have time to engage in ourselves.
the hand erects trestle for creepers
and plucks knife edge trenches around the lawns.
A cat is placed each day under the deciduous tree
it roles in dirt and greets the tenants as they arrive home
we each feel it belongs to us.
Washing appears on he lines as if by magic
and the bins stand erect on the pavement come Tuesday night.
Nasturtiums bloom and die,
sparrows nest in the trees,
and some unidentifiable creature
shrieks every second heartbeat
on mornings we want to lie in.
At night possums jam,
corrugated high-hats clash with
the strains of throaty voices.
The lights go on the stairs at seven, or nine in summer
and the tenants remark that it doesn’t feel
like the flats they’ve lived in before
and start reminiscing about the gardens
they played in as kids.
[These poems were written prior to my twentieth birthday and have been published here, 18 years later, unedited and in full]