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Now I’m Sixty Four

Summer holiday morning, our town an
overfull éclair. Dogs on leave
bark for home, and teenagers rev the engines
of older family members. Visiting cats
wander into other territories, the wattle birds,
all rusty complaint, while the rooster has crowed
its night long displacement. The heatwave hums
along with coolers, the air as heavy as a cold
you can’t shake; we used to hear the ocean,
but now the incessant northerly owns us all.
Still, here I am, at the most honest point in life,
having passed the age of knowing, and sure
of who we are, on the second cup of coffee.
If reincarnation is true, I want to come back
to this point with you, the rest of our lives
secure from past loss, and this stable present
a buoy in any current. Things can go along,
float around us, music has captured hours,
streams happy or sad decades, becoming
calm arrival. You tell me the French call
this La Petite Mort; I don’t know what time
it is, or what day. Like watching the ocean,
or an open fire, becoming selfless as seasons.
We’re as tactile as stucco, my hand
on your wrist, your fingers on my collar bone,
the sensation of a sherbet dusting.

James Walton is an Australian poet published in newspapers, and many journals, and anthologies. Short listed twice for the ACU National Literature Prize, a double prize winner in the MPU International Poetry Prize, Specially Commended in The Welsh Poetry Competition – his collection The Leviathan’s Apprentice was published in 2015.


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