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What the aluminium can lady thinks

  • 15 June 2010

Satisfaction enough

1. Her momentum surprises around street corners, the pram wheels cross-hatching the blue bitumen between the hills elbowing the Lismore basin.

Standing on the edge, she migrates the long, thin pole around the recycling dumpster. Beer bottles clink, aluminium cans become metal kebabs. I throw squashed bourbon cans onto the pram. She turns, a thin smile creasing her stern face.

2. I often wonder what the aluminium can lady thinks about. I imagine

that on the road: her set eyes read the worlds of nature — the sky as upturned colander, shaking droplets of rain; the branches of the spotted gums lining with bird alphabets;

that at home: she rests the pram at the back door, aches striping her ankles; she switches the kettle on, her breath heaving, her feet crossed on a chair which for now is satisfaction enough.

–Peter Mitchell

The physicist's wife considers 

She clutters the kitchen bench with a myriad of glasses. Designed originally for the evasion of tax, the enclosed air twist of stems will determine their value independent of him — in this the only expanse he would (at times) leave to her, his wife.

The assessor is late moving smoothly from apology to rhapsody ... __________multiple spirals __________paired filaments __________double knopped __________what a pity almost __________a set ... and two __________with a mercury twist

She need only appear to listen __________the rotation of ... Always — he described himself as a Master — one who could trust in his skill with heat and blow to hollow tools (with such precision) that a liquid state emerging from extreme pressure was notated into elegance.

Sealed in a silence resonant with glass, another writes a persuasive formula while she cradles a vessel having no memory of wine.

The scent of dying basil ... a shadow leaves her hands ... a void.

__________oh! how lucky __________more resilient __________than one would imagine and __________now ... have you decided?

Using old papers edged with equations she boxes them all herself avoiding the cost — twenty-eight dollars.

–Kathryn Hamann 

Peter Mitchell lives in the Rainbow Region of NSW, writing poetry, short fiction, memoir, literary criticism and a range of journalism. His collection of poetry, The Scarlet Moment (Picaro Press) was published in 2009.

Kathryn Hamann is a Melbourne based poet. She is the author of five books; the latest, The Threshold of Silence, appeared in 2008. Her work has appeared Australia wide as well as overseas.