Shall we order now?

They told me it had changed. Do you recall –
no, well before your time. These places tend
to hurry through the seasons. Here we leave
the summer on the other side of doors
that whisper shut and winter filters in
through vents in ceilings. Musak zorbas through
the room, the floor
comes up to ankles. Bishops’ mitres lend
a sanctity to tables. This one near
the glass perhaps, and take this chair, the view
runs down the eighteenth fairway – new to both of us, I think.
This time of year

the evenings seem to linger and the light –
my God, how things return! About this time
the Heinickes came home. They trapped behind
those western stands of whipstick-mallee trees
they’ve left as fairway windbreaks. Riding home
by starlight down the Berri road, it ran
between those tees
and on through here beneath our feet. A line
of Heinickes in silhouette, they rode
like masters of some ragged caravan –
fur-traders out as far as Renmark and
my envy festered as I watched them go.

You say that sounds remain in things and wait
until good listeners hear them out. The night
that’s just begun out there brings back the ring
of rabbit-trap pegs swung from handle-bars —
the hiss of tyres on sand. This window needs
far more than tinted double-glass to keep
the sand and stars
and Heinickes away. Perhaps the light
and whipstick let them in along with sounds
of trap pegs swung against a cycle-bell
strange room mates musak tapes and trap-chains. Well
have you decided? Shall we order now?

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