The backs of the old couple’s heads
as they sit to one side of the bench,
eyes fixed on the wide expanse of shoreline
keep the vision whole, their interior world intact.
His hair, spiky-short and white.
Hers, camouflaged in an auburn tinge.
They have the sweep of ocean to consider,
which mirrors the width and length of their days,
habitual togetherness, lack of anticipation in demeanour.
They couldn’t be more explicit with the body’s language:
an awareness of the inevitability of being outlasted
by many things, but none, more so convincingly,
than by the shimmer and blueness of those waters.
It’s unavoidable, the sense of stillness that comes
from being mesmerized by the back of two heads,
the hint of the shoulders’ descent,
as if there’s a twilight of resignation
in the silence of the two shadows.
It’s easy to imagine, that once,
no four walls could have held back
their other world of coming and going,
the stain in their voices, the ardour in their touch –
for how else, could they have juggled
the insubstantial, the creeping changes in the light?
What are words for
before paleness sets in?
A cracked mirror insists,
grooms the silence
of inner voices. The heart,
a ghostly music box pumps on,
finds new ways to pound.
No turn in the keyhole
will bring a resurgence,
only continuance with the past.
Nothing much needs to happen,
except for eyes to stay fixed
on the revolving door –
a sharp intake of breath
for shapes of desire, unmoored
faces, to drift in from another world.
Charles D’Anastasi is a Melbourne poet. His poetry has been published in various journals and anthologies. He has a particular interest in the prose poem. His last chapbook Madame Bovary and other prose poems was published by Mark Time Books.