States of Poetry 2016 - TAS | 'Distance' by Adrienne Eberhard

Distance

(after Jordie Albiston’s ‘Cartography’)

What is the space between this hut and that mountain
but impenetrable black, and frosty cold.
She is writing this at a table in the cabin,
spinning thoughts like threads, as if they can hold

her boys tighter, pull the mountain in, with their bold
tents blooming like flowers in the snow.
Can thoughts, or mad desire, shift the world
slightly, tilt ranges so their faces lower

to her own? Upthrust, tectonic forces, the whole slew
of geology sped up, so contour lines diminish
and lakes freeze, ice thickening to a deep blue
while those dark mountain peaks relinquish

distance; and this long night will finish.
Her writing is a thread to lure them back,
their faces filled with snow light, dolerite, the itch
of time alone, the cold breath of height. Face facts:

the contours between here and there are shifting. Pack,
and ask, what is the space between home and out there,
between their beginnings and these beginnings, but a lack
of courage; what is distance but a prayer?

Adrienne Eberhard


Adrienne Eberhard

Adrienne Eberhard

Adrienne Eberhard’s latest collection, The Shape of the Wind, is forthcoming from Black Pepper. Agamemnon’s Poppies (2003) was awarded second place in the Anne Elder Prize, Jane, Lady Franklin (2004) was featured on PoeticA, and This Woman (2011) was shortlisted for the 2013 Tasmania Book Prize. She lives on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, south of Hobart, and is working on a new collection that is a series of poems/letters between Marie Antoinette and Marie Louise (Louis) Girardin, who sailed in Tasmanian waters in 1792–93.