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Past the letterbox, to the cemetery

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A measure of flying

'I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph'
–Jack Gilbert, 'Failing and Flying'

The ironbark fringed the sky and scribbled our pool with leaves.
In summer we dived down, determined to rescue the blue.

I remember the tree, the rasp of bark on my legs, I tore soft

jewels from the trunk. They broke like unpicking a wound.

I'd shinny up a branch with a book or a balloon on a long leash
of string: I'd play it out into blue, wait and then tug it back.

Sometimes I just sat on the rim, my legs hung in sheer edge
eyes strung to that place where the sky melts into sun.

I had my own path to sky; a silver river on top of the sheds.
I ricocheted down the ripples, measured the fly of my feet.

Always that leap off the end, the sharp jar, and collapse
in deep grass, standing, earthed with a seed of obstinacy —

knowledge that I had really glimpsed flying. I grasped it
as though wings and fell, unfeathered, again and again.

Susan Fealy

From the front door, past the letterbox, and to the cemetery

The gate jumps forward;
stops shut against her white heel,
silent as a skull.

Through the knife thin gap
she sees envelopes, paper,
ink, and no letters.

On the other side
of the sweating, blue-tar street,
a car guards a house.

A red Commodore
sits suspicious in the grass,
begging for a key.

Miller's yawning porch
appears; paint scabbed and shackled,
in dirt pots and debt.

The Golf-Spot Motel's
twenty-four doors are blinking,
crying, 'vacancy!'.

A bald man croaks 'fore!',
his dimpled ball disappears
into gum clusters.

On a brown oval,
a small girl kicks a Sherrin
to her dead brother.

An arthritic lamp
stands bent by the street, next to
an arthritic lamp.

A truck breaks her way,
overflowing with sick pigs,
packed tight as a fist.

A shopping trolley
cradles a bladder of wine,
dribbling on the path.

A man on a roof
waves; hammer between his legs,
nail in his mouth.

The iron gate whines;
winged-children frozen in place
playing quietly.

A cracked grey angel
shadows a snatch of brown weeds
in a Coke bottle.

A marble stone reads:
'our loving son, died too young'
he sleeps, snug in clay.

–Jamie King-Holden

Susan FealySusan Fealy is a Melbourne based clinical psychologist and poet. She is the winner of the Henry Kendall Poetry Award 2010. Her poems have been published recently in Meanjin, Etchings, Islet, Arena and The Best Australian Poems 2009.

Jamie King-HoldenJamie King-Holden studies literature at Deakin University, Geelong. She writes poetry and short fiction and co-edits the literary zine, Windmills.

Topic tags: new australian poems, Susan Fealy, A Measure of Flying, Jamie King-Holden, front door, letterbox, cemetery



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Existing comments

What wonderful gifts you both hold. Thank you for sharing them. Trish

Patricia Taylor | 06 July 2010  

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