Maggie: An Apology

By | 1 July 2006

Through all

          the little stories

heard

as emulsive-minded children

          on rickety and wrinkled knees,

we soaked them in

          but never developed,

stayed unlit, stayed negative;

and Maggie,

ghosting darkly

          on the edge of my inheritance.

The vibrating shadowness through

hazy days

          and hardwood;

The mute gazes of dairy cows.

An iron roof

          ticking in night's tightest grip,

blacking out the stars.

Its disapproving voice

          a ground back constant,

The consonant bird calls,

the thin newsprint

          that papered the walls.

Hazy days

          and deepslept nights,

          ringbarked hardwood.

Cowhides tanning

                    on the clothesline,

wraith-like.

Maggie,

          slippery through the dappled light

          as she

          whitewashed walls

in the roofless property chapel.

Hazy days

          and a housekept homestead,

and their

heat-fraught,

gin-and-tonic days.

          The highcollared women

          bickering more bitterly

                    for their hardwood silence

the minuteness of their territory,

          the crumbs of a housekeeping budget,

swept like saltbread fragments from a bar.

Cicada song

          like a tuneless madness

buzzing ineffectual

          and restlessness

and migranes.

That tethered energy

          and flyblown efficiency

                    turned to

corroding each other

                    a frustrated daughter

                    running away

                              along the rusty trainlines

so many years

          and mended stockings later.

                    Thrumming through it all,

Maggie watches, barely seen.

Her hazy gaze

          hardening into cataracts and rheumatism,

and ghosting darkly

on the edge of our inheritance.

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