Figs

by lou2300

tyrell st tower

The streets and pathways of the city were dark and gloomy at night. The houses with their faces to sea were blank and blacked out. Only through doors that faced inland came “occasional glimmers of light”.  The brownout, a “half-way business of restricted light and deceptive shadow”, gave a strange air to a familiar scene, “distorting the shapes of the trees, casting monstrous shadows over the street”.

sometimes, at night
between Moreton Bay Figs
there is something watching,
in the corner of the eye
a shadow, an eclipse
a feeling like crepitus
and lions pad across the road under a sky of rust
near the buildings of the Catholic Church.
Three years ago, in my parents’ garden, I planted a fig

small                           spindly             thing

now I touch its smooth trunk and varnished leaves
its roots tapping the labyrinthine seam
running inland from the coast
where the distant hum of machines echo
the cochlea

the tracing of a snail’s shell with my fingertip

The air above is musk
Port-wine magnolias and warm rain,
but from here the city is imagined,
the Cathedral’s dog-like sneer
steps leading nowhere

I twist feet on slipped gutters
slide on sticky berries and hills of limbs
lying under bitumen

trunks stamped on the street like elephant feet

halfway down Tyrrell Street
past the rook in its corner square,
the figs
were sliced to stumps

their roots cross-hatched like a bone collection

Work Cited:
John Ramsland “Silver pencils of light”: Fragments of Remembered and Forgotten Space in Wartime Newcastle”. R. John Moore and Michael J. Ostwald Eds. Hidden Newcastle: Urban Memories and Architectural Imaginaries. Ultimo: Gadfly Media, 1997.

Published in antiTHESIS. 16 (2006): 90