Title: Turning Twenty

Author: Ashleigh Young

In: Sport 32: Summer 2004

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, December 2004

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

Conditions of use



    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Sport 32: Summer 2004

Turning Twenty

page 149

Turning Twenty

At the top of the hill you can read
your fortune in tree leaves
congealed in the sky, where cloud
has been drinking this morning.

If you follow the line of birches
on the banks of the river
you'll come to a small lagoon.
Sit down, write a pantoum. This is where your heart line ends. Or skew
off to the left: the black path is your money line
you'll see one or two saplings, tethered to dollar signs:

to the right you'll find feathers of a pukeko
that fell out of a tree and, still deluded by last night's moon,
plucked itself bald. The pukeko will sing
when it finds you. Join in, this
is your love line.

With your pockets full of leaves
and your mouth filled with feathers
of humming, hold on to this arm
of supplejack as you swing over the fence. Fall
in the mud. In your knee-prints
see the two faces of the man you will marry.
In the wedding-veil white

of the sheep's skull at your feet
you'll see eyes made of air, the bone
of all the days of the week, smooth
as morning paper. In your hand
page 150 it's light as a milk carton. You will
never be as old
as this. The tyre-swing is heavy with rain

but climb on. Go swooping through the air
on the wheel of someone's hollowed-out car:
each turn counts for one letter
of the alphabet,
each letter counts for a town
you will drive through or live in.
If you look up at the spinning tree
your breath will catch
like a kite there. Let go now
and your centre of gravity
will pull you upright.