upon returning from the city
the weatherboard house sheds its skin of rain.
a change of temperatures divides the farmland
and the fireplace churns smoke out like wind.
the septic tank buzzes, expected sounds amplified,
a pile of compost rearranges itself, lined by spiralling
overgrowth, most of the flowers have died or approach drying.
through the misted glass water evaporates in waves
of heat, steaming in front of acres of backyard.
the grass-ends sway on the paddocks separated by decayed
and unlevelled fence posts strung with tangled wires and electric
traps. I pick blindly at my left arm. immune to the forced scabs
a sudden prick of pain pulses from a carved furrow-
blood oozes in a circled hole where I’d crushed a cigarette.
I slide the window open and light up another.
pillars of smoke gutter into the shifting sky, adjoining
the city’s sheet of mist. shadows gather on my lungs
as the bud crackles with the surge of orange flame.
clumps of ash shoot into the grass below the window sill,
I hover the stumped cigarette over my wine-red arm, predicting
the blistered tattoo, eying the wind that dances the branches
of a gum tree at the back of the property. after the burn, warming
air stings the skin in the centre of the weeping circle.
from Rain Season (2013)