Title: Sport 28

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, March 2002, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 28: Autumn 2002

Anna Smaill

Anna Smaill

page 29


On a cruel day, they cut the trees
that stood outside my window.

Their calm had been
a necklace of protection,
the wall of family
that edges in the vision.

My head is emptied thinner
than glass, this brittle cast of shell.

I cannot see without them.
I will find a place where
eyes are never needed.
Where night is certain.

Here I stay in dark that tastes of green.
My skin will settle slowly.

The leaves that cut
the corners of my sight,
grow close to me, touch
kind fingers to my face.

We will be pillowed here, in the blind
where there is no distinction.

I curve my wrists and wait
for fronds to shelter out the light.
Under my feet are dark bulbs
and the slow breath of transformation.

page 30

The Window Cleaner's Dream

The sun throws out a sheet of swinging light,
casts it away from this tower in the city.
The canopy flaps white, and settles
down, like cloth spread out across a table.

I raise my head in admiration, attempt to call
but my voice is thrust back in my face
by the double glazing I am cleaning
so that the inmates can look out and see the sky.

But there is no sky. In a temper of deception
it has vanished, been replaced by mirrors—
silver and blue, that echo the remaining view
and quietly go on and on reflecting.

And I can't quite believe it, the laying
of the high-up table, and just when ready,
the spread of covering whisked away
to leave the places rattling and empty,

just a seagull or two cutting a decisive arc.
Still, down below, people are mysteriously moving,
and cars—a blue then a red one—follow on,
emerge from out the body of the hill

so consecutive it surely has been planned,
worked to a point of spontaneous perfection.
Full of sleights of hand today, the city pivots,
palming objects in and out, between the buildings.

page 31


There is a birth every morning,
the sides of the sea-wall breaking
into the new sight. It is certain
this must happen every morning.

The rocks lift away from under
the new skin of the water.

There is no reminder of the breaking,
the halving of the sense at reason's falling,
the excavation of the heart's regions
as it is emptied out.

The depth here in the harbour
moves out with the ledges under water.

The ear listens at the new stretches
but there is nothing,
just that it deepens, widens;
there is nothing underneath but silence.

13 September 2001