By Marianne MacRae
We go to the cliffside in the evenings.
It has become our ritual to watch,
our backs pressed against the eyes of the air
that clamours behind us.
Mother packs a picnic; I have on shorts, no shoes.
In the valley faces move
through curdled darkness.
Birds hang at awkward angles,
at once too large and too small,
their balloon eggs falling
slow through chequered light.
Too light to break, they bounce
and bowl along the grass-bare site.
Our clothes ripple in the blink of the air,
the sky-blue blue of Dad’s bowling shirt laments
a bad season, all but forgotten in the soil clod of this evening
where the clouds and the trees become
the same green, feathered brown with dances of dust
rising from the valley.
Down there a man is dowsing for water
with two bent sticks,
two ticking needles turning slowly
into and away from,
into and away from his chest,
in time with the bursting bubble of his heart.
We peer through the fish-tank weeds of the woods
glimpsing catches of stories told in part then left
for us to choose our own adventure.