Wanala sunset

Spring, seeking the fresh collapse
of everything, not least this evening,
and the effort of buildings (every cornice and eave)
fails to eclipse the vaporising midges, serrated rows
of eucalypt trees. Insects sing
in full-throated susurrus, refracting light-
seared wingbeats, constant
and arrhythmically pulsing.

                                         I am caught here
licking spiderwebs of sugary white soufflé
lerp, loping across streets that bristle
and purr with browngreen biyula,
pavement like the colour of leaves
curling in midday’s heat, while one
of Brunswick’s infinite
collection of Schrödinger’s cats
asserts a sidelong gaze, thinking somewhere
bells toll.

Wanala, and my neighbours are taking
a crash-course in aviation, hanging
from second-storey heritage apartments
clad in yuppie pastel. Glass and cement, mouths of bubbly
cradled like precious metal. The light dives,
capsizes: long slow approach of evening
raking its hand across each blade
of grass (the end of the week arrives
with precision, dog-eared, remorseful,
slumming and tilting its nightward course).

Almost every home now advertises Black Lives Matter
So these visitations matter, too. This Triple R station
where Gorrie and Morris commune on Sunday:

Everything is telling me this.

Sunlight oscillating across the pavement,
a man perched on a stoop at Nicholson,
his kids tailing the unpredictable
dribble and sway of a basketball
in the half-diminished light
matter, or nothing does.
This afternoon,
this walk,

this back
and forth
of breath
against cement.

We heard their voices echo, once,
alive and caught
in the continual conference
of seesaw and stutter, the offence
and the defence, endless etched
cement-relief messages
imprinted in granite-grey curb
as the birds sang out their last word
negotiating the watchhouse over Meanjin
where a permanent sunset
now falls, never knowing for sure
if it will rise again, but trusting
that it could.



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Declan Fry

Declan Fry is a writer, poet, and essayist. Born on Wongatha country in Kalgoorlie, Declan Fry has written for The Guardian, Saturday Paper, Overland, Australian Book Review, Liminal, Sydney Review of Books, Cordite, Kill Your Darlings, Westerly and elsewhere. His Meanjin essay “Justice for Elijah or a Spiritual Dialogue with Ziggy Ramo, Dancing” received the 2021 Peter Blazey Fellowship. He has been shortlisted for the Judith Wright Poetry Prize and lives on unceded Wurundjeri country with his partner and their cat, Turnip. @_declanfry

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