Anna Ryan-Punch is a Melbourne poet and reviewer. Her poetry has been published in Westerly, The Age, Quadrant, Island, Overland, Verandah and Wet Ink.
With a fingernail
I carved a dry gourd.
Rattling my history
like a bag of tears,
I poured curling puddles
into dusty earth.
I poked their painful edges
broken crusts of memory.
With a toe, extended,
I scraped out a cactus.
Scoring my passions,
multiple as cabbage moths,
millipedes, crickets and
other unwanted plural creatures.
With a calloused thumb,
I decided they were not
objects of beauty or use.
I crushed their stink bodies,
left them to dry
into brittle filings, and
did not stay to see them
blow away in soft flight.
Gales increasing on hard rubbish night.
Brown Christmas trees
blow up the road, up the footpath
Their evergreen didn’t last long this year
barely curled out 12 days
before they were dragged to the roadside.
Brittle needles crisp in smoky heat.
The television calls to resolution-makers:
dieters, quitters and exercisers.
New sneakers stink with good intentions
but newsreaders warn against exercising outdoors.
This is small news for homes in the suburbs
where all flames are out of sight.
Parched clay cracks around foundations
jagged gaps in the bathroom wall reopen.
Dead Christmas trees drift back downhill.
We can look at the sun without squinting
but hardly notice the smoke.