The photographs fan out of their packet
like a rainbow lorikeet’s opening wing.
In front of the Chemist, in the middle of Friday
suddenly one woman is caught in free-fall.
Within her head, louvers open.
She is standing in dust-shimmering light --
a flight path through the roof of that rainforest
at the back of a house where she lived,
once. She is dappled with a warm-earth smell
and hours are sliding into her hands
like the fruit of the stinging tree --
globes of clear, sweet juice descending
in a silver mist of danger through the shadows
and the almost-invisibly needled, heart-shaped leaves.
She has her feet only just on the concrete
as the unexpected harvest splits its skins,
memory-dousing her before drying
into coloured flakes she can slip so casually back
under the flap which promises picnic-perfect happiness …
There it is, all the fall and flutter of her life:
friends hooded under picnic rugs in rain,
umbrellas over the barbecue the children saying Take me
to the camera throwing shish-kebabs to currawongs
and running through wet ferns, unscathed by ticks and leeches …
There it is, in front of the Chemist,
in the middle of Friday
so airily suspending her
until she is thumped back to earth by a neighbour,
his arms full of house paint, his Hul-lo! falling
neat as an egg into this nest
last Saturday has built in her hands.
They both laugh -- and her voice is a smoke-edged warble
a breath from that barbecue breezing
over the little suburb’s pickled street
as she fans out the photographs
and for one five hundredth of a second
they are caught
on the spread, stilled feathers of a wing.
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