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Kathryn Lomer

The Write Stuff vol. 7

Everyday Ophelia

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 other
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,
alights 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 this one,
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
but you are just beginning to shape a world.
You need every good thing and I must give it.
So we lie under oak leaf patterns, watching wind,
counting waves, remembering birdsong.
A bank of cloud lumbers in from the north
threatening to take the shine from autumn's equinox,
rain thieved last week from the Timor Sea
holding its breath above us, a meniscus,
fragile airborne tension waiting to break.
One cloud hangs like a zeppelin,
a trick of afternoon light turning its side to a rainbow.
Read over your Greek book in verse, I say,
and you laugh as if it's the best thing
you've heard in all your life.

Due for publication in Extraction of Arrows, University of Queensland Press in September 2003.

© Kathryn Lomer

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Home | Site index | Links | About submissions | v.1 1995 Book reviews; Interviews with writers | v..2 2000 Eric Beach; | v.3 2001 Anne Kellas | v.4 2001 Another Country:Tasmanian writers conference; | v.5 2002 Stephen Oliver | v.6 2003 Lionel Abrahams | v.7 2003 Showcase of Tasmanian poetry | v.8 A miscellany of voices