States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | 'Anniversary' by Barbara Temperton

We've been in mourning just over a year,
or just under, depending on the date we're marking.
Not always celebrations, anniversaries
have a way of keeping their appointments:
they're ticked off at the level of the body
and brain, our biochemical wakes.

I've felt strange all week, sick and sleep-obsessed,
a willed agoraphobic. Show me the cave
I need to crawl into and I'll be there.

No headline-making bereavement here,
just the absence of two small dogs,
their apparitions appearing to join me in my chair.
This evening, with fever, I made room for shades
and only then did I mark the date,
our two dogs dead twelve weeks apart, a year ago.

Their anniversary arrived like a virus
assaulting the muscles of my heart
in a darkened room.

 

Barbara Temperton

Recording

Previously published in The Weekend Australian, 18-19 May 2013.

Barbara Temperton

Barbara Temperton

Barbara Temperton finds inspiration in the diverse landscapes and stories of Western Australia. Her poetry has received awards and is published in newspapers, journals, and anthologies. Going Feral, her first solo collection, won the 2002 WA Premier’s Book Award for Poetry. In 2007, Barbara completed an MA in English (UWA) ­under the supervision of the distinguished poet and academic Dennis Haskell. Fremantle Press published her MA project as Southern Edge: three stories in verse in 2009. Barbara was Westerly magazine’s poetry editorial advisor from 2009 to 2011. Ghost Nets is her work in progress.

Social Profiles