He remembers a night-long drive, fractious children – the reason for travelling by night – finally still, I Spy, Play School tapes, reached saturation point, semi-mountainous terrain straddling two states, through silent hamlets, his wife beside him also asleep, exhausted, radio tuned softly to his favourite DJ, Lucky Oceans’ jazz gems.
Past midnight, traffic thin, occasional headlights crisscrossing like wartime searchlights on the ever-winding road, exhilarated by Coltrane’s tenor sax, he goes over life’s teeming possibilities, the hope you might stumble upon the unhoped for that thrusts aside sudden mishaps when subsistence is conjured from little money.
Yet unweighted by the crush of years, he pictured their destination, the inexpensive cottage amidst tumbledown outbuildings, trees, on a cliff above a river where children romp in speckled sunlight, she plies her profession, studies, while he continues house-husbanding, writing everything down slant in the crabbed hand of one never quite certain.
Blueprinted dreams of happiness his trusting vision as chronicler, neglecting love’s demands while those years peeled away, children now adults hooked on their own dreams without passports to happily ever afters, leaves him with only the blur of absence like a silenced bell, a memory of night music, words calligraphic wreaths on paper.
IAN C SMITH’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Australian Poetry Journal, Critical Survey, Live Encounters, Poetry New Zealand, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.
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