Anthony Lawrence’s most recent book of poems Bark (UQP 2008) was shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year Awards and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award. He is currently completing a PhD on the poetry of Richard Hugo, and a book-length poem The Welfare of My Enemy is forthcoming. He lives in Newcastle.
I can’t smell the oil-stained deck ropes
on the last boat leaving
the last town of the Cinque Terra,
or see the highlights in your hair
as you pass the Roman wall in Lucca,
but I can see you’re in a hurry –
the broken flourishes of your thinking
as you run for a train, the word because
reduced to bc in all your correspondence.
I can’t see you there, in that postcard
version of your dreaming, overseas
or when you returned to a life
doubled by keeping your options open
like a wound gone septic from neglect.
Today I see your name on my calendar.
Your birthday will come and go,
untroubled by gift or word, though under-
scored by this certainty: lost in the poor
terrain of your grammar, you worked
a moulting brush through muddy pigments
to abbreviate me.
The Sound of a Life
In frames of elapsed time
and contractions of deep sea light,
an open water dance
between science and bivalve
is bloodflow and the muted sound
of a life hinged and weighted
to its own design.
Behind the shelled meniscus
of a marine biologist’s faceplate,
where assessments of fact and beauty
play across her eyes, under pressure
she hears the blue mazurka
of loss and non-attachment
and she outbreathes what remains
in her tank to understand it.