These Dead Trees
Some dead trees fall across the path.
Either we scramble over, walk around,
or saw right through them.
Others tumble over the creek, ravine,
form bridges, ease the crossing.
The dead, in the restlessness of their waning,
are still up for one final gesture.
They slant against the living,
play at being trees still.
They topple in deep forest,
their final weathered leafless crash,
an unheard coda to the unexamined life.
Ants devour them slowly.
Snakes slither into the comfort
of their fractured hearts.
A groundhog burrows where
the wood is softest,
in the winter of another.
A Trip Back Home
My first morning home,
the sky’s as wide
as the ocean I crossed to get here.
Crows caw from eucalyptus trees.
Their magpie cousins dart between
the glints of dew on the grass.
My mother in the kitchen,
prepares her first full breakfast in three years,
her weathered face
glinting here and there with sunlight
like the twinkles of a dying sparkler.
This place seems as if its been here forever,
as if the history of the walls, the floors, demands it.
Not just the fancy chateaus, the mansions, must survive
but the small three-bedroom, one bath,
wood-and-fibro War Service houses
that line both sides of the street
in the order I remember them.
I slept in my old bed,
woke to kookaburra laugh, cockatoo shriek -
the sounds had been waiting for my return.
And now I sit up at the table,
devour fried eggs,
It doesn’t take much
to turn me back into a son.