The houses slip past. Sometimes with your own pause button
your swivelling neck, you can see for a brief focussed second
a family freeze-frame, changing the channel
or closing the venetians, keeping the blue flicker in -
hundreds of slides for the actively curious,
slides, houses, each soul its galaxy.
Slide 12: an adolescent, caught
in aluminium frames, side on to evening.
His truculent cobweb stretches the suburbs.
He has eight teachers, two dogs, and a mother,
three frightened brothers, one desperate headmaster,
partridges, pear trees, a lady from Welfare.
Someone is talking about him at dinner -
unlikely hub to an unremarked universe.
Driving home, you pass thousands of houses.
Each is behind you, each network, in seconds.
Your own small cosmos glows behind your door.
It’s cold, and you are late.
You turn the key.
Across the evening sky come skeins of birds
looping home to welcoming trees.
Mary Blackwood has written poetry on and off since the 1970’s when one of her first poems appeared in the very first edition of the
Tasmanian Review, now Island. Over the next three decades, while working and raising a family, she wrote sporadically, and her poems were
published in a variety of magazines including Poetry Australia and Island.
Since retirement from the paid workforce in 2013, however, she has reignited that interest in poetry and has had a number of short pieces published in Blue Giraffe and Prospect.
Mary’s only other claim to any form of literary fame is her children’s book Derek the Dinosaur, first published by Omnibus in 1987, and republished by Penguin then Scholastic Australia.
Though now out of print, Derek was reprinted 8 times, distributed in America and New Zealand, and translated into Korean.