Maybe one day
you’ll visit the museum of trees.
Maybe one day, trailing behind the class
you’ll get ‘accidentally’ lost,
find yourself ducking under the ageless arms
of an oak, find yourself moving
quite alone, from beech to beech.
Maybe you’ll fantasize about a museum sleepover
where they let you set your spine
along the bough of a elm, in a mimicry of limbs
and maybe, when the museum air is still
and everyone else is sleeping
you’ll hear the willow whisper
through its thousand green mouths
behind discreet green fingers
the story of its youth.
Maybe one slow Sunday afternoon
you’ll beg from your mum
a few coins, to go again
and stare up at the myrtles
through glass, and realise
they miss their birds:
but the museum of birds
is five blocks down
on the other side of the subway.
And maybe, nearly in tears
in front of a case of maples –
august in their mysticism,
and no-one to pray palm-to-palm with them –
you’ll let the sadness sublimate
from your eyes, down into your throat
ball up, shoot like fire into your fist
which will smash the case
and you’ll reach through the shards
to touch them, hold them
and your fingers will find
plastic. Only plastic.
Each bark-notch and leaf-line
And you’ll leave the museum of trees
bleeding a little, bleeding a lot
all the way down the street
and you’ll never, ever return.
- 99: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 98: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97: PROPAGANDACOMING SOON with M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones