Roses he supposes are for love; chooses thornless plastic-sheathed ones for his love. Purchases three chocolates in a box lined with William Morris design. Hadn’t guessed she hated flock; what she wanted was meadow-sweet, a finger-tip trace on her face, garlic’s starry flowers.
Gadgets she imagines so his oil stained fingers can work through sweet grooves of tin, something practical to put in his pocket, to turn over and hold in his palm. He looks at it. Nods and places it on one side. Wonders why women never understand. Pats her back to steady her.
A bitter rattle from the trees
a shiver of beeches
we want a vantage point
to imagine you flying
songs and words sown
And the clouds chase the sun
deep shadows cross the green green grass
up the hill and pass through.
Rest now, Tom.
Glinting, in the glass cabinet,
a silversmith’s ring –
well crafted, clever
like a frou frou skirt
the silver slices
remind of waves,
or the petals of a rose
It catches the light, transforms –
wants a hot dress date
wants to join up with jeans
It’s my leaving present.
The vouchers sat in a draw for nearly a year
redundant, like me
but I found the ring without trying
as if it was meant to be.
Idly tried it like Cinderella
amazed by the fit as if
only made for my finger
Now the ring wears me,
Reminds, with its weight
I’ve moved on.
Stunning, not stunned.
At the terminal the coach heaves,
swallows me and my every possession
You said “goodnight, not goodbye.”
We thunder down the highway –
three days to Ayers Rock
I begin to unravel you and me;
unpick the horrors of what we did
and I see nothing but an emotional landscape
and when I reach Adelaide
angular, flowered, calm city
my accent still marks me out
and nobody shares these harsh pillows.
We skirt the Flinders Ranges.
Grey bushes break up the red stony soil
and lone houses break up the hours.
The water pipeline follows the road for hundreds of miles
and far away at Stony Point where you worked
a fire is burning
No doubt the sharks are breeding now.