Gates

GATES -

           - with misplaced names,
           Mountain View, Green Vistas, Argyll, Clare,
           look out on mallee, rutted roads and dust.

           - that weaken hinges and
           need lifting when they're opened, dragging where
           a scraping rail cuts quarter-circle ruts.

           - that stand aside
           and let brown, mobile dust-clouds pass.  Where sheep
           lead drovers, dogs, and creaking jinkers through.

           - that wait
           for mail and day-late papers. Wait where jeeps
           turn in and rattle cattle ramps. A few

           have rusted shut.
           One held up elbows then, but neither scrapes
           nor swings now and the ruts have healed - although

           the barbs are sharp
           and with me still when nights are quiet - a gate
           that slammed in anger once and words wired closed

           - that rattle latches
           that only I can hear, that fence in old,
           unhealing things. In there chains are straining and

           I hope the padlocks hold.

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