Babies born into arctic dark —
24 hours of night — have minds
more easily widowed of sense.
Now, Gulf, wrap your humidity around me,
your currents and flocks of migrants,
in your September. Beached, let pelicans
animate the sky, my lips to curve
and eyes to wonder, keep me,
my feet, whole in the mud of the flats.
Sky, dear yellowing, failing light,
fat with rain, blow the winds
that stop the egret mid fish-dance;
allow me one more season of sense,
of knowing the names for these:
stone-turner, curlew, plover, hawk and gull.
If you take one roof from the houses,
take them all. Open the suburbs up.
Make rockpools from the cul-de-sacs
where I cling mollusc-like
to possibility; to shore:
an idea of a horizon, where
after rain, in the eddy of brown waters
at knees, at waist, you rise,
you raise me up, remind me
that I was born to dry heat, drought,
on the grit-banks of a river widening
through limestone, seeking salt, seeking
sea, in September,
lightning strikes outback of the breakers;
the horizon appears in an instant.
Caitlin Maling (Western Australia)
From Conversations I've never had (Fremantle Press 2015)