The policeman didn’t ask my age
or question experience
the tone of voice remained unaltered
was of summer barbecue drinks
which is exactly what it was.
I was visiting the hinterland, staying with a friend
who invited some people and
the inevitable question …. “ what do you do”
able to parade a little –“ just finished uni ”-
about to commence the career thing
“ I’m a cop ”
topical – a big pay increase just awarded.
“Well, I have to say ….”
He didn’t interrupt, waited until I finished
did you notice the crossroads just out of town ?
Three weeks ago … a horror crash there,
motorbike and 4WD,
two dead –
the ambulance took the survivors.
“ I helped load the dead, then
awoke the parents of a young man to tell them he was.
At first light I went back with bucket, water and soap,
to scrub away blood, flesh, fragments,
something I think that was once an eye.
Do you still think I’m paid too much?”
Fistfuls of light
thrown by sombre trees
strike unlikely sentinels –
weathered soft toys
bleached wooden trains
scruffy, gentle markers, softening brutal inscriptions.
Kate, Anna, Kyle, Melanie
never progressed to surname
will never require differentiation.
School remains unknown
as does inequality
Innocence and loss
sway quietly together
grief’s slow waltz
painful and sweet.
When melancholy won
or luck felt picked upon
I came here,
loss, what could be more?
She was often there, always it seemed with daffodils,
whatever the month
and always smiled
a smile of compassion, understanding and encouragement.
Sullen overcast overcoat
scowling clouds cover sky, knee to collar
mean spirited temperature
heads down people
no greeting, and no eye contact.
The shopping mall – compulsory only
pharmacy and clothing essential,
discretionary spending will not be seen with.
Smoking still prevails
outlawed, outside several years ago, by statute
behind the dumpster
stringy youth –
sharp features, neck tattoo
thin same aged woman, Cleopatra hair and bangly wrist, reaching
inside thrift shop jacket
for cigarettes –
flicks lid open,
confirms – last one
struck match, one draught
passes to him – shakes her head –
he can have it all.