poem | Greg McLaren

188 cover

spring 2007
ISBN 978-0-9775171-5-2
published 20 September 2007

A clearing with a town

Between the schoolyard and the church
pages of newsprint flap in the night,
ghosts of information.
Some rustle and float a few streets to where

the forest at night flashes past car windows,
eight miles filled with the smell of gums and dirt
and underfed cows: then a clearing with a town
laid out flat with streets of square yellow lights,

no talking going on behind them;
and beneath the asphalt and gravel, only quiet,
and the sound of toilets and showers, the shape
water makes pouring into water beneath a town with no river,

only flooded quarries and mines, and a wide flap of bush
giddy with being mapped and surveyed for coal
and lost children. Here and there, out of the long grass,
a tree, bearing its ten thousand leaves. And what

it has seen: the ordering of the land into plots,
the grey rising and collapse of gun-smoke
among the ti-trees, a flight of black cockatoos

wheeling like vultures above ash-tinted eucalypts,
no longer tied to anything the ground might yield
or conceal, only there were no graves.

© Greg McLaren
Overland 188 – spring 2007, p. 81

Like this piece? Subscribe!