Academic journal article Antipodes

Bare Feet

Academic journal article Antipodes

Bare Feet

Article excerpt

When my son said ting

demanding I sing as I held him

like the newborn of seventeen months ago

there was no hesitation or clearing of throat

and the words came instinctively

As I went walking

that ribbon of highway

Woody Guthrie I call to you

from a land where toilet water

really does swirl down

in the opposite direction

and where once 1 was witness

to the murder of a brown snake.

I call to you from the ancient place

so old its history was never recorded

and the present sometimes seems delayed

the future assured of drought.

The daytime sky is the same we share

though the sun seems much closer here

(you'd have burned on your journey without 30+)

but the night sky is poles apart;

if Orion is upside down

then of course I am lost,

I cannot be blamed

(though his arrow points south

and flies the earth's circumference

and eventually all roads lead to . . .)

I saw above me

that endless skyway,

1 saw below me

that golden valley

This land was not made for you nor me

but my child in his habitat

will walk these roads, hardened bare feet

enduring three cornered jacks and shards of glass

and clean remains of white-washed bones,

pointing out landmarks along the way,

making landmarks of his own

leaving me

ten steps behind

always looking back for what,

I have never been sure. …

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