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CAROL JENKINS


The Yard


Beyond the domesticities of grass,
clothes line and Jacaranda, kero tins
of thyme and sage, through a gate
that never closed

to the bottle yard’s besieged passage,
an eighteen inch width of sand specked
with darker oxidants, dry adherents
of stubborn greyness,

you get a wriggle on past the stacks
where heat glint sours residues and ferments
dregs in a bottle world dizzy with
spirit pungents, wine and whiskey

interlopers in a landscape ruled by beer,
a song of slung up percussion played by
the dozens bottle clashing symphonic
sway, the syncopated clink and ring
of one hundred and twenty-one nestled
empty browns that sing a bright syntax,
of fast onset, they pitch, slurring over

frequency, lilt not quite united
in their slow-fading empty bottle echo.

A block away at school I can sort by ear what they’re loading, strictly
brown for the brewery truck
greens and special shapes, rate blues
antique cobalts, iridescent greens with marble
stoppered throats opalised by entombment
disinterred in strange digs, kept

for admiration, the children’s prize
of black and white plastic Scottie dogs.
I learn fractions by half-penny browns
- they pay. Take no milk or
soft drink, in a world of empties
these run a different scheme
of deposits and returns.

 


Winter Rain


With the rain falling, winter rain
metronomic parts of me
half listen to its cadence, half
know the ground it maps, pours over
and across. Rain in numinous strands
threads the past, the now, the with,
the recent future, threads exquisite,
with longing to drink
all parts of time’s catastrophe,

ceiling and roof resonant with thoughts
of not, and always being, shelter or homage
to what can be said of absence, the black
wet ground, slate cold puddles holding
some imaginary perfect state

and you nudging a boat of memory out
into the rain, waiting for the boat
to displace the sea.