Paddington [Brisbane]

In every gully
there is a cached surprise of house
tucked away in amongst the lush growth,
on every ridge the breath is drawn
away from the lungs
as the airborne mind
swoops across to the next ridge,
the houses winking at each other
as the sun makes its autumn parabola
over the wrinkles of the land.

Renovator's paradise, these dwellings
rising off their tall stilts,
shouldering each other aside,
up and down the slopes,
dry timber awaiting the lick of fresh paint,
window casements to be eased,
acroteria to be repaired, barge board
to be treated with finial, belvederes to
be braced, colours to be chosen
from the alluring charts.

Down in the dip, near where the builder
was hard at it amongst the cut boards
and the stack of timber,
three recalcitrant youths gave us the finger,
one threw a fruit at the car, and then
they darted like Wild Indians into the deep
canopied bush, their school bags
flapping uselessly like extra limbs.

Heavy rain concluded the chase
and in the gathering darkness
the antique shops lost their allure,
the lights of the city began to emerge
in the glimpses back down the valleys,
as we headed off the ridge once more, down
to the dark mangrove flats of the coast.



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