In deep bathwater I am Ophelia, mad from love,
but I have one ear on a
Janet Frame mnemonic -
Read Over Your Greek Book In Verse - the
cocked to baby squeals. A quarter-tone shift,
delight to distress,
and I leap, leaving water trails
like a puzzle, to bring him in. He jerks
his beaky mouth
over my breasts like a grazing Galapogos turtle,
on a morsel and hangs, resting an ear on my heart.
We are any mammals, the
southern right whale and calf
glimpsed from a glider cliff in a moment like
rare as whooping cranes, generous as sunshine.
You are a sleight
of hand, conjured from a paper hat,
a living fossil of an ancient love. Only
you are innocent.
We count hours now, not days.
There is no plan and there
are no new dreams.
I could lower blinds, curl up and scorn the light
you are just beginning to shape a world.
You need every good thing and I must
So we lie under oak leaf patterns, watching wind,
A bank of cloud lumbers in from the
threatening to take the shine from autumn's equinox,
thieved last week from the Timor Sea
holding its breath above us, a
fragile airborne tension waiting to break.
One cloud hangs like
a trick of afternoon light turning its side to a rainbow.
over your Greek book in verse, I say,
and you laugh as if it's the best
you've heard in all your life.
Due for publication in Extraction of Arrows, University of Queensland
Press in September 2003.