Late Getting Home

When horizons widen, back off and shimmer down
I’m half-way there and when
thin whipstick mallee sways
its stunted clumps of strangled, grey boquets
and sand rasps round
abraded pavements in a Drysdale town
I’m home again.

A frieze of willows with their skirts cropped
cow-mouth high
still screens green channels, waves
of pepper branches blow
in ripples as their skirts are swung in slow
blown hulas by
a wind that ushers dust across the sky
and sweeps the day.

No change. In each November citrus blossoms brown
in furrows. Morning light
still beads where sprinklers run
and arc their stuttered benedictions on
a drop-pocked ground
and drifting mists still muffle river sounds
in winter nights.

No change? The house is crumbled rubble and a sour,
sharp reek of seepage blown
across the orchard grows
more acrid with each salting year and those
who shared a loud
unclouded camelot are quiet now.
And I’m late home.

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