Poem of the Month: ‘As Long As The Earth Lasts’ by Dean Elphick

                                                                                                                                    Life is —

 

a retired mother vacuums an empty house, implores the quiet spaces for response

and feels an overflow threaten her eyes when she understands

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the sand blasted beach cottage where family mosquito-plagued board games

inevitably descended into

 

memories of a chance encounter. A night when soft lips held a smile at rest,

begging to be joined by his coarser embrace and to remind him

 

silent Christmas mornings, when no one else is awake apart from a parrot at the

feeder, feel like

 

the sorrowful waiting room dictating one visitor at a time transforms the vending

machine into a monster and only serves to accentuate

 

the gravity of a child’s giggling first step across unforgiving linoleum floor is as pure as

 

a fifteen kilometre walk to the family’s water source allows the necessary time to
think about

 

one gull in flight, so unmistakably wise and independent riding the updraft, can

see even better than

 

the most astute commentator may unmask government failings but will never

remove their own façade to comprehend the

 

sound of waves, ten feet above tingling skin, in an ocean without fear is the closest

one can come to

 

the feeling of a wedding day, when the flowers are fresh, lasts as long as

 

the time it takes to cross a loud, disconnected stranger-infested intersection is

enough to realise

 

we will never know enough about each other’s insides to uncover why

 

so many lost people are misunderstood and dismissed by those who are as ignorant as

 

a film star is everything you want to be, then in any interview is never the human you
want them to be but

 

music is always best experienced alone at night amongst slices of moonlight

while you imagine

 

the things you write under the sun but would never utter aloud except to

 

a pet is the kindest listener because they rarely pass judgement and you believe

they can't translate

 

your emotions catch you napping in the merciless afternoons and none are as
complex as

 

the idea of love seems both tangible and foreign when you gaze upon

 

a sharp petite face you’ve just whispered a secret to, trusting them to keep it in
confidence so no one ever knows

 

a tiny green caterpillar arches its face skyward through the long grass, completely
unaware

 

that a baby is cradled by an arm of the church, gently wet and forced to follow

Jesus without a voice to speak while

 

the last bus recedes before she could reach it, and as the rain explodes on the
footpath, a hooded girl is waiting

 

for a young man who takes pale steps through a crowded room full of old people,
one woman repeating ‘nice to meet you’ to her daughter, to where his
grandfather is

 

listening intently before being questioned, the light in a politician’s eyes shifts in
shade and he spreads his hands; about to elucidate

 

all is not lost but we are always alone. That’s why misty-faced soldiers

 

never stay for long even though the beautiful bodies of blonde, mid-twenties, skinny
dippers at midnight speak of hope

 

when her lips meet his eyes he’s never seen such a complicated twist and neither can

say what they want because

 

friendship can seem so much easier when a smooth brown horse sharing straw and
sawdust in silent companionship with a farm dog explains

 

that even the weakest solitary iceberg, accosted from every angle, never becomes soft

but that doesn't stop it

 

— disappearing

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