North towards yesterday

by Lyn Reeves

from All The Way Home

Packing my suitcase full of questions
I leave behind a cold October morning
overhung with cloud and journey back
to the place where it’s always summer.

What I remember most are the birds,
their riotous music in the early forest,
the way they call to each other all day
and how, in the evening, their homing flight
feathers the sky with shadows.

In that place of summer the shadows
were always backlit by an incandescent
longing, that had something to do
with the richness of rain greening and
unfurling palm fronds and passion vines,
swelling the creeks with a rush of white sound.

But it hasn’t rained in years.
The waterholes are rank with weed,
the creeks diverted, their clay banks
crumbling. Your face, too, is cracked
by ten long years of drought.

Above the valley the stars come on,
one by one, and the moon
is a golden carp tangled in the pool
beneath the footbridge where I stand
caught between yesterday and tomorrow
casting questions like bright feathers
into a river of revolving sky.