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Bach to the Fuchsia

June–July 2020, no. 422

Bach to the Fuchsia

June–July 2020, no. 422

In thrall to thresholds, drawn to every brink,
            at three weeks old
an infant’s eye adores the frames of things,
            the joinery that holds
each smudge in place, and individuates.

It feasts on edges, architraves and jambs,
            the skirting boards
of portals, vistas, stairs – the sinews of
            a monochrome Matisse
above the couch – a rim of tortoiseshell

that clasps a lens – jawlines, bevels, hems.
            Collecting motley
verges, most of all, it relishes the glinting
            blade of gold
that flashes in the gaps between the blinds

(a second birth, a scimitar aflame, that fattens
            on each careless
ghost of wind) – as if it knew the brilliant
            strip contained
some future proof technology for life.

The leavings of a star have cast this spell,
            summoning blood
and chlorophyll – and so, the summer
            of his birth, I find myself
orbiting the block, hammering our bond

in the forge of an inhuman heatwave.
            I emphasise the hip-
jolt of each step, to simulate the rocking
            of the womb, as if
I knew. My crude technique appears to do

the trick – that glassy stare, as though he hailed
            from a pond of jellied
frogspawn, his visa from the commonwealth
            of zonk. I am a roving
gum, and this koala is my son. His pupils rowing

back toward the main, weary of their cargo,
            shove off their oars
and drift onto a eucalyptus reef, as curbside
            fuchsias, wilting in a kiln
of scorching bitumen, collapse in heaps

of silk and taffeta upon the street like lurid
            ballerinas on the nod,
the victims of a batch of iffy pills. Back home,
            some Bach to help us
both relax, Partita No. 2 but on the lute – and as

the plucked notes run, I learn to count the cost
            my gaze extracts – how
every glance beseeches him to concentrate
            on me, the toll it takes to hew
a face from scratch and animate the world.

Comment (1)

  • A wonderful view of babyhood and a parent's apprenticeship. Thank you Jaya.
    Posted by Margaret Robson Kett
    08 September 2020

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