Sue Lockwood’s poems have appeared in Island, Heat, Antipodes and 14 magazine. In 2003 and 2011 she was a runner-up in The Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize, and in 2007 received a Literature Board grant from the Australia Council. She teaches creative writing in Melbourne and is a member of the writers’ group, Io.
I find the bag of bulbs you left
and recall your instructions
to plant them this autumn.
A moon calendar shows
in green wedges
each of them two,
two and a half days
in earth and water signs.
I’m not sure if bulbs are annual
or perennial, if first or second
quarter is preferable.
My one concern is to get them
into the ground
while the moon is waxing.
When you come home to visit
this winter, some will bloom –
jonquil, hyacinth, daffodil.
Landing now so near to the equator,
I wonder how the moon affects
the sun of your arrival.
We are mad with vantage points yet nothing isolates itself
not a parcel under plain wrap, not even meaning.
Take boats in the harbor, masts kissing in the wind,
making and unmaking the sign of the cross.
Single out the brightest boat and no matter how
you fix the scope, nothing you do can make you unsee
the image that rocks in the cove of your eye.
You wish your dreams were Mandelbrots
but all you get is a Multiplex, a squalid night in neon-land
that shunts you into dawn.
Sick of this you slap on boots and trek inland.
The desert has no vantage point, no point of view at all.
You swear you see The Horsehead with a naked eye,
but then the vast silences always were available
when we lay us down.
You meet a man who sets darkness alight
when darkness is all he craves.
Art should serve to remind us, he says.
What’s the after-life, after all, but consciousness lit up
and sent ahead. Gilled creatures live next to him
on the desert floor.
The original ocean is this close, an amniotic fluid holding
the world together.