The Graduations of Light Were Amazing

Jennifer Allen

I fell out of bed this morning.

After a sleepy dead drop,
the hovering reflex awoke in me.
At once my spirit relaxed, so peaceful
watching myself stop 
the kids off at school.

I floated above my usual tram,
spying tiny determined people 
squeeze their lives in.
Past terrace houses waiting half-asleep
in long lines for soy lattes.
Past the museum’s bottled rainforest
complete with tawny frogmouths 
picking off a small workforce 
of industrious mice.

To the split city where the homeless 
plane trees stand too far apart 
for their roots to speak,
branches reaching out to touch leaves briefly. 

There I am scurrying to work 
holding my breath, avoiding the turbulent front 
of florescent work vests.

Light repositions imperceptibly.
I’ll stay with myself to the very end.
Falling is acceptance, 
failing is too.

Skyscrapers create 
updraughts that lift me
higher to survey volcanic divide:
richer or poorer – the trees picked their sides
when we forced upon them 
a human life.

The air is so full of space floating down,
pressing upon pressure bulging upward.

I’m bonded to that reclusive body
now hurrying itself homeward,
squeezing in the same
old dirty ear plugs.

Concert night – there are my bouncy kids
in flea-circus costumes.
Such pageantry walking
hand in hand with the reality
of matrimony’s aging infrastructure.

Close upon the border of converging I wait
selfishly till all are in bed. When I hit
the earth, lifting my head just enough, 
I say to my husband – 
Call an ambulance! 
But he thinks I am already 
far away, dreaming.

Jennifer Allen is a Melbourne based poet, whose first collection of poems ‘The Cut Worm’ was published by Precious Press 2006.



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