By Luke Torrisi
The dogs’ chorus draws me to the night sky,
I look up to see the crushed quartz underfoot
Mirrored in the clear black. A ring of onlookers
From the heavens, like an ancient audience.
They surround this earthen altar,
Faintly verdant, streaked with rust,
In the blue light of Mani.
Stepping out from the void, as if disturbed,
Are the gnarled joints and split limbs
Of the oldest residents. Wind sculpt effigies.
What backs have they seen broken?
How many men have they measured?
Whose remains do they shade from the merciless
Beat of Sunna’s drum?
Quiet, now so quiet. And in the still crisp air,
I ask myself – did I hear a calling?
Was that a voice whispered from the earth itself?
I stoop to pick up a glinting shard – the tittering earth-crunch
Incessant. My every move – even a pivot – announced.
Sharp yet smooth – catching the slightest of light
It’s small but ancient curves amuse my thumb.
Words not hushed but echoed,
Strong, indeed determined to be heard
Reverberating through the ages, refuse to leave me.
Is my place in this sliver of vastness? Should my hands
Loosen the crumbling bronze? Splinters, spurs, stings-
Not even housemaid’s taunts out here. The rain furrowed
Driveway carries my eye to its craters.
A barely standing shed of discarded wood sighs.
A breeze, a rusted clang. Winged specks are cast like grain.
Will the dendrite watchers of the land oversee my passing?
The cluttered silhouettes of lives past hang from the distant
Roof of an unwalled lean-to, too precious to discard.
Dented iron, pitted brown metal, flaky ash-grey handles.
Dangling remnants – the inheritance I leave?
The dry-wind brushed fences of picket and wire,
Encompass the testing paddocks. A tough bronze skin
That only gives way to wilful heaving of diesel coughing iron.
What mercy will Freyr grant to any channel hewn
Into this parched firmament so divided from the sky’s tears?
The children’s window, tapped by the fluttering flecks.
I feel them sleeping.
In the common good of this soil I shall sow their strength.
In the bright solar spirit of tomorrow these fields,
Shall receive new life, as new life from old springs in me.
To acquiesce is not to lose one’s self, to fail one’s being,
It is to become, to return to one’s essence.
In this ochre and dusty green I have found my polis
A citizen returned from his Odyssey.
The dogs snap me back to the present moment.
Are the sirens calling me to the rocks once more?
Roused from my reverie, the dark shades of doubt
Whisk about me. Loki’s bag of tricks,
Once loosed an enchanting promise of perfection,
So many dance intoxicated to its tune – perhaps me?
My fate lies now in this ghost-soaked land.