been here too long, have to get out
the fear that beats into you
living in the country remains with you long after you’ve gone
becoming a second skin dislodged when away from the grasses

a part of the body embedded in endless paddocks
from the beginning, the greater years convene
at the point of youth
threads of a silence beckoning you nearer-

the farmland has its own language, the voice of dirt you numb with drink,
with marks along your flesh that never heal, only press deeper

you learn too late, never escaping the clean wind
inside the fence-lines, the property’s border
fleeing from all you know to be consuming

to get out, take a rifle from the shed and do away
with the isolation for good, is all you can dream of
where the air stands in place of buildings,
with no-one new to see
freedom becomes intolerable
that’s why more people die by their own hand
in the country than in the cold city

everyone is somehow absent of themselves
when isolation is your company,
the quiet land without immersion

the road out of town that rises beneath cars
leaving the country for the city
your feet never miss the paddocks,
though still a tension between the outside
and the openness.

*

first published on The Wonderbook of Poetry.

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