Jill Jones – Her back pages

Jill Jones

Her back pages

The back pages curve like a wave.
Each list in the classifieds
tells her to fly — for work,
for travel, and for the dying.
She watches her hand touch down
on the paper.  Its rough yellow
smells of pulp and ink.
She hears a faint crackle,
imagines its sourness —
as you see a taste of salt
round the rims of rock pools.

The beaches are cold now but
the gossip columns say
Elvis has been seen sheltering
at Bondi behind the Pavilion.
Maybe he’s after some luck.
No-one told her to fly.
She’s learning to build gardens,
bought a shovel, Nitrosol,
and a spray gun of Zest.
Because they’re new,
they need no instructions.
Not like ‘splice the mainbrace’
or ‘pass the salt’.

The fading moon of the season
hangs over her efforts,
but night on the ground
is flooded by the glare of lamps.
She will pay a million dollars
for wings of sleep, for night to give up
its plans to disturb her.
One day she’ll learn the secret
of closing her eyes.
She will take to a south-west bed.
It will haul the wind of her breath
into walls of hope.
Not for her the choruses
‘que sera sera’, she will never be
still, nor listen when the window
shouts back into her room.
She moves through these sounds
as she takes on the wave.

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