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Sport 36: Winter 2008

The Coffee Table

page 201

The Coffee Table

That day in his office
those emaciated fingers of scrub at his window
      the scratching, the scratching
the nor'wester tearing the here and now
      threatening to snow.

You knew
when his knees met the threadbare weave of his floor
that he was not the saint you needed.

How together you leaned over the coffee table
(there were no glossy magazines)
And you watched as he drew, with his nose following his pen
And his little eyes beseeching
A map of the brain.

Strange destinations. Warring factions, he said
that on occasions least expected
draw uncommon armaments.
Unthinkable harm can be done, he said
Such that (here he looked you in the eye)
some warriors are no longer recognisable
and may (or may not) return to their homeland.


page 202

It was of course, the way he did not
join all the dots, the way the coastlines fused
too often to oceans, that made you understand
he was charting new territory
      land not yet plundered

And that he had come to the frontier
of his very own journey (swagman)
and would need to step through coils of barbed wire
in order to fathom the true colours of the next horizon.