States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'A brief report' by Kevin Brophy

for Wolfgang and Birgit

I failed to sleep last night, I failed to have the dreams
that would take me safe from one day into the next.

I failed to be brave, afraid of the train, its snout of steel
pushing out of the dark into the station at San Pietro,

its sides towering over us blue and white and filthy with night.
It hissed, cracked open, impatient, warm as a belly inside,

I was shaken as it took us like some fallen angel breaking
its teeth on a language too new and too earthly to speak.

I have opened the door to the day without faith in its miracle,
I will cough up the night from my lungs, the city will breathe

and I will see across on the opposite hillside a man on a balcony
move among his plants, touch them, sprinkle them, nodding.

My belly is soft, my head is a stone of my making, I report
that little is known, little is left, too much is imagined.

I think I might try now to go to a church and be prayerful.
I think I can see that the man on the balcony follows some rule.

I failed to sleep last night, after listening to my friends speak
of repairing, slowly, the falling-down church on the hill in their town,

as if too much would be lost, as if angels would drift unanchored
from this town unremembered without its dawn-lit shining omphalos.

 

Kevin Brophy