Hard Rubbish

By | 1 July 2006

The four star fridge is on its side, surprised
To find sunlight on its shelves, ice tray dry
And its arctic green inside slowly warmed.
Hopes once hung with suits in wardrobes
are out with posters of the stars we all forgot.
My faith in styrofoam has proved a phase.
The bag of plastic forks from God knows where
Is tossed beside the bones of bicycles and prams.
A kitchen sink receives a washed-up suitcase.
In this paradise the armchair lies down with the milk crate.

A stack of games, a pile of books, a Georgian garden set
“enough to keep an opshop buoyant”
and someone's mother's ashes in a box.
A magpie lark sings in the dawn on a bath tub rim.
With the weathered logic of a dream
the idea of ownership is mocked out on the street.
What to give away, throw away, or keep?

My father gives me clippings, photos, coins,
my mother gives me one last landscape painting.
I watch them take up daily walking
as if they know the journey's long and slow
and no belongings can be taken.
I want to start again by ending.
I throw out everything and bring it back
piece by piece for fear of having nothing.
The wind and rain are curious today.
A couch accommodates a toy piano.
Are you free if you can say it's so?

Or must we wait with cluttered hearts
until we lie unburdened in the puzzled earth,
a gift returned in time if not in worth?

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