Title: Sport 34

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2006

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 34: Winter 2006

Miranda Johnson

page 162

Miranda Johnson


I married a hidalgo
in a green towered church

at the port. The priest
measured our vows

in a smoky vial,
touched lips unclamped

with his forefinger
to quiet vibrations

uttered as chords.

Did we think blue
pigeon-toed on cold stone?

Then etched our name
into vellum

forearms straining
with the slow curve.

Outside, in the flowering
dusk, lost our way

dancing with salty arms
as the dark stained our tongues.

page 163

Along the edges

My father was a tailor
knew the manufacture of lines

when to swoop and straight
the calculus of stitch.

My mother kept an inn
knew the bearded tastes of Men

and how to lift weight from the sky.
I remember songs light

as aluminium that I
arranged in scales

along the edges.
I remember swarthy dancers

wrapped in blue taffeta
large hands spinning me

in the pleasuring gloom
as Arctic explorers

must have felt
when they took off their furs.

page 164

The Young Wife

Already with child
on board ship to the gold country—

and the child cried

like coins in the pocket
when I moved.

I longed to rest these nights
against whitewashed wall.

Shape of a kidney bean
my baby would not rock

or take milk
stomach of silver fish

Connection taut

and twisted in navel
freshly scabbed. I tried

to hold against wash and roll
as strong as the beams above me;

dark furrowed into light
showing spiders' webs

that harnessed us in.

page 165


If thunder scaped the sky
carved hill into horizon

jammed earth with heaven,
I always knew it blossomed

from the rusting squatter's shack
at the top of the rise

to the left of the saddle
where the sun dipped.

Of course, it bloomed and branched
in its weightless, laden way—

but what surprises
is how this gnarly cloud of sound

suddenly compresses
spirals through

and stays me
as if I were the boundary marker.