Bedtime Story/Reveille

By | 1 October 2015

Snow can’t have fallen.
There was a chessboard on a scintillating
of stairwell
flesh—what-all he
up endued, or down, with pivots,
concretised. It smelt of old spit-
air let from a carnival mallet.

5 a.m. He’s in a bed, not at home.
Some dark smokes and peals.
Tell a story, says a boy’s voice. The boy is white-blonde, with an obdurate coldness
of finger. And tuck me
—sheet shrink-filming rib-
cage—so I can’t squirm at all.

A Blue Mountains hermit
gazing at clear
still creek water counts
the pulse in his sallow jowls—one, three,
four, two, dawn fog, pulse, each a gecko
darting. Creek-
smell the urine of one with thirst.
He sees that his clothes are rags now and draped over a nest
of spurred bones. Kookaburra lands on the whipper snipper cord
rack of the vision eating him.

Yarraville warehouse—studio
where in kinder times they shot
cars, also farming machinery. All-white,
LED, without squaring, diaphanous
tunnel to the ancients, star portal.
He paid the cover at a side entrance. Ate four googs.
Went out front some to breathe.
Snow can’t have fallen.

Meanwhile other isolates
surfing coastal plains, Southern-
Cross-eyed in trim deserts,
ferreting honey ants from basin
alluvium, in hisses
through grassland winds, steamrolled
pennies of pink
salt and plateau blood
—they are all eaten.
To some gnomic ends they feed themselves.
Your brain, the boy’s fire.

By white whizz-bang hushed
West Gate siren mast oil squat vistas
4 a.m.-bay-tinted
of cab glass black what-all
boy up whispered down down the Melbourne
side whispered man’s voice snow
can’t have fallen can’t have fallen tell me
driver is it very
anything where you’re from

Good sleep collects
in the bone. Salt
pent from creek water
drunk wishes rushes snowy. And Great Sandy
camels, they bear what little
remains of the devoured
over a Europe of red dunes
south—to rhododendron gardens.
There is a mass interment in the gardens. An obelisk
shrine erected. Into this bed we tuck our wild folk and their kin.
You who went without: sleep.

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