High Straight Trunk

By | 1 May 2020

All morning she counts the beat of crickets until the
grass makes a noise like scrunched paper. Ants take
a turn over the hump of her foot. Heat curls the air away
from trees and the call of a shrike is snatched, blurred.
Her eyes stream the fizzling sun, turn the brown paddocks
fealty and behind the forest’s scalp the throb of machine is
palpable, read by touch, its faltering efforts swaying time
until the high straight trunk falls, pounds to the ground,
the epicentre of a quake, silence sticky in the aftermath …

… clean sheets slide, a territory of wide rock, plateau of wood
and earth, sweat; grass more ascorbic, the prickle of warmth
deep in her lungs, head sinking into pillow. Downstairs, pots
are clanking, water runs, a knife hammers. She falls again as
if from a height to her straightened position, her cleaved post.

Light burns like fuel: match-heads, sparklers.
Training an eye, she wonders if it’s possible to see
the dark move in. There’s a section in the garden seeping
purple: changing from oak-green to mint to lavender.

The land has been cleared, but inside there’s mouse-shit in
the shadows especially where the floors meet the wall.
Lifting her head to calls, she glimpses the last of the light. It
shifts in metal slides like blades spinning, and there’s
sweeping, the harrying of clutter, a banging broom, clashing
plate, the music of cutlery. ‘It’s ready,’ says a caller.
Shimmying across the bed of cool hard slate, the dark
shortens her grasp. She stands to a dizzying height.

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