Blackberry Caliphate

4 May 2016

For months men with coloured stakes have pegged the suburb,
subdivided their way over the hill, toward our hidden place,
this clutch of blackberry. We’re here again, arms smeared

with sour fruit, hands nicked and bloodied from passage
through the bramble. Under our canopy there’s a lull.
Over the hill a dozer sputters diesel; you’ve put sugar

in their tanks, delivered secret spells with sticky fingers
and your two-stroke tongue. Tricks don’t hold long,
nothing works. They’ll find us, out beyond

their kerbs and cul-de-sacs, gorging on sour berries,
licking the skin from our lips. You’ve stubbed
a midden of butts in silence. I need to act now.

There are leaves to pick from your hair; I kiss
the grease on your neck, your exhaust fume breath
buries the shape of words in my ear. I guide you

to me. Exhale your weight, until we’re side by side,
in the musty dirt, damp on our shoulder blades, rabbit
eyes in the shadows. When we come in from the hills

our palms cling, sticky with blackberry; backs grass slapped,
pin-pricked with bindis and briars. In the hours
we’ve been gone, they’ve poured cement between stakes,

mapped our sandstone heart with a concrete tattoo. The footpaths
shimmer; we walk, gravel dust at our ankles, until we find
a place to kneel and cast our hands in wet cement.

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