States of Poetry Series Three - ACT | 'Making the road' by Lesley Lebkowicz

The gentle hills north of Taralga
unfold as though

everything were possible. Trees
grow. Their crowns shift in the small wind

showing off new leaf tips: pink, green, a hint
of blue. The cows in the paddocks are big

and brown. They browse and stare
into space. One lays her head on her friend’s

shoulder. Their calves lollop around
getting the hang of things. A bull is fenced

in. He stands still. A curl of hair hangs
from his pizzle. But my blood no longer

flows. My breath is still. No oxygen
is fed into my cells and no waste

removed. It’s true my hands and feet
still drive the car. To the right another road;

the signpost points to Crookwell.
I have never been there

but my mind makes the way:
a road of rutted dirt with tussocks of

grass bunched on either side like skirts
held up against the dust that rises

from each passing car. It takes a bend
into rolling country – roos

raise their heads at the sound of a motor –
and then it winds its way to Crookwell ...

I stop where I am – north of Taralga –
and climb out, dragging my body

as though she and I were one; I lean
on the warm metal and look at the hills

and the trees and the cows and breathe again.

Lesley Lebkowicz

Lesley Lebkowicz

Lesley Lebkowicz

Lesley Lebkowicz has been publishing poetry since the early 1980s. Her last book, The Petrov Poems (Pitt Street Poetry), won a Canberra Critics’ Circle award, was shortlisted for the 2014 ACT Book of the Year, and won the 2014 ACT Writing and Publishing Award (Poetry). She has also published a collection of short fiction Washing my Mother’s Hair, and a translation of the earliest Buddhist verse cycle, in collaboration with Pali scholars. She has spent many years in silent retreat and founded the Canberra Insight Meditation Group. 2017 saw her first exhibition of ceramics. Another is planned for 2018 as is the publication of her next book Kvetch (Pitt Street Poetry).