Academic journal article Hecate

Indian Summer

Academic journal article Hecate

Indian Summer

Article excerpt

Indian Summer

It's the kind of day the family calls a Geronimo Day,

since the fourth child was born in an Indian Summer just like this.

We sprawled on bone-white decking in the unexpected warmth

that morning, under a vacant-blue sky, and the sun turned the paddocks

into a hanging lake of steaming tussocks, so that it could have been a raft

that we were on, lost amongst towheads of bulrush and cottonwood.

But seasons play tricks with their painted Apache faces,

and today I'm alone, in the dark, with a violin fiddle-faddling

a bow of horsehair oh so sadly! for company.

I'm watching a tall stiff-backed man in blue overalls, and a biggish

lolloping black dog, playing fetch on the opposite slope of the gully,

and they look like square-made figures on a tapestry, that have come to life

naively placed by the weaver above a frost-fed creek.

In winter that water is bluish, and so are the mute smoke signals

that lounge in an unravelling spiral amongst the peppermint gums,

and an absent neighbour's mildewed tipi.

Sometimes I pace and bend in the stillness;

in the slanted rays of this place, my toes curl;

in this stifling four-walled aloneness I count five windows

over and over, as if giving birth once again,

but in hollering solitude. …

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