'The Sublime', a new poem by Kevin Brophy

The Sublime

at 86 and 91 they are still together
more or less
and greet me at the door
as if I am the punchline to a joke
they were just recalling

my mother staggers sideways in the drive
my father reaches out for a wall, a rail, an arm
with the urgency telephones demand

they know what it is now
and do their best to hide this knowledge from us
agreeing to be forgetful and ever more frail
they can’t help grinning at the picture they must make

they expect to be driven to appointments
they say are medical or therapeutic

my mother toys with the idea of a new knee
my father trembles to the tiny drum machine
beneath his ribs

and their eyes go cloudy, their ears a solid silent blue,
their mouths half open to let out the unspoken
because they know what it is
and now they want it more than this old world

the small days come, flowers in the garden,
drugs delivered to the door, postcards in the box outside

she has a sturdy stick to hold down against this earth
tapping as if to wake someone down there

a warning they are coming

Kevin Brophy

Kevin Brophy

Kevin Brophy’s latest book is Look at the Lake (Puncher & Wattmann 2018), a record of a year living in a remote Aboriginal community in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia. Recent books include This is What Gives Us Time (Gloria SMH,) and Walking: New and Selected Poems (2013), shortlisted for WA Premiers Poetry Prize. Kevin is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne.

Published in June 2011 no. 332

Comments (1)

  • Leave a comment

    This poem really moved me- very authentic, beautifully written. Our storytelling/poetry class spent an hour fully engaged in discussing this poem today - so much within it. Thanks Kevin.

    Thursday, 28 April 2016 10:37 posted by Jen Bourke

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