for Michelle Cahill
Some evenings are this fragile. Rainbow lorikeets court
baroque chords creaking in my nest of bones. You wrote
to wrap my limbs. Morning will sprinkle the conifers,
Which of us abandoned the other? We cannot answer
with insect wings, serrated jacaranda. What colour is truth?
Some days we trust more than desire, trying to be true
Dawn cauterises the sky. The falconer retrieves
with ropes and pulleys, plane trees
slip by, a clock ticks, the refrigerator drones
Robust and mechanical, the heart’s broken notes
territorial white. They are certain to hunger, to haunt
for the wind retreats, the swallows are in ecstatic flight.
© Stuart Barnes
A cento sourced from Michelle Cahill’s Night Birds (one line from each of the chapbook’s 12 poems: ‘How the Dusk Portions Time’, ‘Night Birds’, ‘Somewhere, a River’, ‘Five Sijo, for My Raider’, ‘Beauty Tips’, ‘Departures’, ‘Houbara’, ‘Storm in the Heart of Summer’, ‘Roses for Crianlarich’, ‘After’, ‘Swans’, ‘The Siege’). First published in fourW twenty-five, 2014