The Granary

By | 1 July 1998

He cracks his pain like stalks of wheat
sits at the kitchen table feathering
seeds from husks brittle as cicada shells

dulled gold in the gaslight which threads
a sound the colour of gunmetal through
the quiet eye of evening. Slowly pours the harvest

back into himself, rises and a heaviness
rolls against his lungs and he breathes
a silver whistling of grain shifting over

the clear membrane of his life. One night
checking the traps he finds a possum
forearm snapped, flesh and fur already

crisping back like peel opening to the white
pith. It goes for him as he removes the bar.
He can do nothing for it. Resets the trap.

Rolls a cigarette, smoke rills vanishing
like flickers of a movement, dark wing, clawed foot,
along the skirting boards. Nothing you might name.

On a day when the colour rings like the bite
of a swung axe, bird shadows
the scudding chips, the sun blades him

like a sapling cracked with the first blow. Toppled
he lies gazing into an ambiguous candour
of blue and mutters – Blow over. Blow over me.

He finds the contained patience of seeds –
if he waits long enough, threads of denim
will unwind to roots fringed with hair, confidently

entering the friable earth, toes and fingers
curl like ranunculus bulbs, hips and backbone
splay off as rusted strips of metal, scythe blade

curved beneath the winnowing jaws of diligent
insects. Hoarded grain sinks like skimmed
stones beneath a brindled mask of dam water

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