Calorific

By Eleanor Chandler

The guy who lives up the loop in a donga
on a bare block, does have a pair of wattle trees
in his custody. That’s it. But these trees are full-
blown yellow and awesome and draw all eyes to them.
They flag something brilliant and grotesque but we know
not what. We fear for them — everything else has been
torn up, scarified. Water skates over his hillside claim.
Blinded by their flowering sunlight even when overcast,
we fear they are like glorious funeral flowers. Living wreaths.
But maybe not — maybe forerunners of a glorious rehab.

I climb to the top of ‘our’ block and descend five times
just to encounter the eyes of the wattle. Patches for my own eyes,
blotting out certainty. They are superbly and viscerally unreal
and I feel their living drive, their compulsion to spread pollen,
attract all birds from safe places, bristle defiantly. And then
I sigh, knowing or hearing that faintest trace of breeze
doing the whispering for me, travelling over many hectares
along my line of sight from the elevated position I return to.
Over. Over. No conjunctions to yoke words, clauses; not art
to frame my tilt, my hillside inclination towards symbolism.

More fool me? Dance a jig, an inland hornpipe hoping spring
will be old fashioned 1950s textbook Eurofructification. Each
twirl as calorific as land’s plenty, as pro-duce spilling
from farmers’ markets, those dreams of self-sufficiency.
So what to do? Waiting waiting? Go outside in the false
twilight (sun setting behind hills, valley in shadows
other than treetops’ massaged by orange-pewter-ochre combo).
Family will arrive (a moment to be cherished — no irony
to disrupt the text), and I’ll close the gate behind them, catching
a glimpse of the yellow wattles blackholing sunset on-high.

Sacrilege not to tread carefully in shadowsville under the glowing,
watchful eyes. Metal frame of house showthrough, so cold it taps
into my t-shirted wanderings, following the belated red-capped robin
searching out its roost: spark! Wasp-galls in jam tree (a type of wattle
not yet in bloom!) pulsing green next to dead and exited nubs.
Bliss! New light from shadows, flowdown from those excited wattles
siphoning the last skerrick of a mauve sun to show winter insects
moving low, so deadly still but nothing violent happens in my register:
I submerge into York gum blossoms hanging heavy close to ground unable
to close but wanting to; as darkness clasps alien wattle, life stirs home.

Eyes to the damaged world to inspire the marauder, to welcome
back life. A theme I transpire into the room with what grows
close here inspired to proliferate, welcome the lone pairs’ light
into the corridor. Those animal tracks I saw earlier only revealed
by the sun at a precise point to cast the temporary as permanent.
But then again, then again, baying of the horns, decorative scrolls
of leisure and weariness and fait accompli resignation — trigger
to damn what’s standing: this is what I fear will come to pass
and the glorious golden wattles — the pair — fall to blade, fire, or poison.
But then again, caterpillar has climbed the wall to secure its future.
Chrysalis — flourish!

Photograph © wanderviolet

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