Down the hillside to the creek
and the bellbirds singing their one
mad song. A homestead
gone so long all that remained
were the things they’d planted.
An orange tree, high laden
and heavy. I remember thorns,
branches grazed by cattle,
and the scent of tobacco-bush.
You took me down to the water,
taught me to peel the fruit
with my fingers, to harvest garlic-leaf,
their mingled taste, hot and sweet.
Somewhere nearby, a bush lemon.
First the peel, dry and thick,
then the flesh, finger by finger.
How many years before
I could please you? A few
years more to teach me to like it –
the bitter skin, the pungent oil,
the sour, angry fruit.
Ugh. Very definitely a first draft. Another poem that’s been in my mind for a while, but this is the first time I’ve managed to pin it to paper. I’m going to have lots of work to do on it, but at least it’s a start. And I’ve survived the Eighth Day!
Curious to know what other people think the poem is about …