Waiting for the Byron Train

By | 1 May 2020

Waiting on the southbound platform
in still humid air, for the long journey home,
half-listening to buskers, bands blasting out
from a nearby pub, you keep a close eye
on checked-in luggage, wheeled out
in a trolley, now unattended
the new surfboard there
for the taking. The boys are anxious,
can’t board until it’s loaded.

We’ve eaten fish and hand-cut chips,
revisiting that last surf on Main Beach,
the swell and the riding, big rollers coming in
swamping, in the Buddhist way,
the sand fortress built this afternoon.
A late windsurfer on the bay moves swiftly
across our line of sight, the lighthouse
flashing in the distance, moon rising
and a slow sea-mist coming in.

Through fogged glass of the window-pane
the green hinterland rises and falls, drifting
down valleys into the timbered forest.
Soon we’ll sleep, the boys stretched out
on the floor, beyond the racket of train
to arrive in cold dawn. They’ll return sometimes,
just passing through, nothing changed,
the street-front palm trees still in place
like pieces from an ongoing jigsaw puzzle
the green frog in the letter-box
shiny, ceramic, you’d think
someone left it as a gift.

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