Pale ankles in the mountains, divergences
on a quarry. We are witness to it
land and witness to it
some fact of further summer
or things a truck driver might say ...
Just before I left sleep behind
I borrowed a series of chords
so I could swerve my way through
the days I saw yawning in front
of me like graves freshly dug ...
Early on, my mind was in reverse.
I read a book the name I thought was From
White Cabin to Log House, and ever after
I knew ambition must go to cancrizans.
So much activity outside
where sunlight spills across the snow
like cream –
Not since I was four or five at most
and in the first of many striped tee-shirts
have I been this close to the flavour of safety.
I’m walking into town again, the child of hills.
You bought me fish and chips for lunch, my own
adult portion because I asked for it, in Evans’s
tiled restaurant, the Alhambra of takeaways.
Waiting on a reeking strange
railway station –
then the dead-quiet but crowded
Rain bubble-wrapping the windows. Rain
falling as though someone ran a blade down the spines
of fish setting those tiny backbones free. Rain
with its squinting glance, rain
The staff and board of Australian Book Review extend their thanks to healthcare workers around the world. We all know what risks confront doctors, nurses, aides, orderlies, and administrative staff in our hospitals and medical clinics, especially here in Victoria. Countless healthcare workers have been infected with Covid-19, and many have died. We’re immensely grateful to the sector for its commitment and self-sacrifice.... (read more)
The ritual begins by filling a plastic basin with warm water. It is carried from the bathroom to the bedroom. It is placed firstly on a stool, then on to the floor. Soap and a flannel cloud the water. My hands bathe the woman who has removed her nightie. She sits with a sense of calm and pained skin’s need for pleasure. It is like bathing a tired child. I lift her arms, we speak quietly of shared things. This true intimacy is purifying. We have forgotten the things that have strained and estranged us. These mornings our bond is primitive. These days are bordered by routine. I am preparing her for death. I am pleasing her prickling skin. I dry her. I treat her skin with lotions and oils. Liver cancer has swollen her body into a state of pregnancy, distension, emaciation ...... (read more)