Title: Sport 37

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2009, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 37: Winter 2009

Ashleigh Young

page 117

Ashleigh Young

Washing Line of the Future

I've built a house in Jim; I like it in him
it's sunny and familiar.
I dig a plot for a garden: some parsley, a rose.
My brand new path of bricks
wobbles toward the washing line of the future
it's a rotary.
The sun scopes out the nameless tree, picks across a leaf.
When it's dark the days sew themselves into cocoons
and when I go out for a clean towel
the sun opens and shuts, drying.

I draw the yard back into shade
to see it better
and this is where I like to take a breather,
because I'm a miner;
my headlamp's a yellow lemon.
When I lower my wheelbarrow
my arms are so light
they feel hollow. I could take off
if it wasn't so late in the day:
the sun's open then shut, dying.

page 118

My Girls

If it had four good walls for her girls
she might settle for a sand house on the beach.
One good door with a knob, a pot and a pan in a drawer—yeah!
she'd settle
for an incoming tide for a floor, mudcakes on the stove sticks to eat them. She'll be a lady, tending green roses. Her girls will play in the black yard, heaping wet sand all over their bodies like icing like she did when she was a girl, and a man said she looked good enough to eat, asked her to break him off a piece of that.

She's pulling cutty-grass
out of the claw bath
on her knees in her nightie. Her broken feet
poke out behind. She cracks her jaw.
Her bones! They're cellophane,
but it's OK, she's got tablets for them.

In the afternoon her girls call in
just when she's patting the dirt down like a dog,
hunting for bullseyes inside a tomato plant
playing the tendrils on the vine
but no tune. They call in, then they're gone.
'Girls?' she calls, 'where are my girls?'
and they come back to her like proud knights,
leading Joe the collie
who went under the house once and never came out until now.
She can't believe him! She holds his sweet face
and kisses his eyes to close them.

page 119

Certain Trees

One tree pretends to throw things
and the wind goes sprinting, then skids, turns—
ha! sucked in again, old wind!

One tree chooses to be apart,
like a door halfway up a wall.
My window groans with the weight

of trees
staking their territory. Humpbacked trees,
shipwrecks of trees

with piano keys inside
like the Titanic. Certain trees sway
holding lighted leaves up

as a voice sings out of a man
inside my neighbour's radio
why you on your own tonight?
The ones you shun always come back

to sing at you.
Certain trees reach for a woman
who is handing washing to the wind, a shirt

by the arms, pants by the waist, socks
by the feet;
handing over parts of the body has never
been so easy.

The wind sprints past the window again
it gets dark quickly
and certain trees reach for me.