Title: Sport 20

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, March 1998, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 20: Autumn 1998

Janet Charman

Janet Charman

page 60

corner Kingsland and Second

to begin we were all in
the lounge room together
then exile to the loggia
while you saw the masseur

she was your day's work
and put the body you had
in some sort of order
now time's that much shorter
and i'm allowed back

at the sitting room border
go through your niece said
she gestured
in the sunlight
with her cell phone
and i stepped

from commonplace
to where the living room shelters
your imminent departure
bold lacquer candle spark
wild roses fragrance

postcards written
in fresh linen

once on the platform
i take your warm hand

page 61

a walk on the course

and there were warm puddings and talk
soft rain last summer when i waited
in the loggia behind the house
while you died

the braided cypress
dimmed with dew
and when our friend arrived with you
who gave it to me
i made you sit on the deck to see the spot
in which i'd planted it
and wouldn't let you in the house
because you had to smoke
it was a cold morning
you didn't stay long
you won't be back

look up there the light
meets The Whau
in waiting rain
a bulk of dust
lain up against a clear sky
metal laced
over air
that seethes around them
the pylons go off in a huff
marching with argument
astride the turbid creek
my new runners
in limp grass
walking past bath towels snap
on the lines beside the jam full carpark

page 62

at the sauna where you went one night
in support of a bereft mate
and sat in the foyer reading the Herald
and said you thought of calling by our place
while he was inside getting over it
the way you do
in two shakes
would i get a Plunket donation box in there this year do you think?
‘We already have donation boxes’ says the owner
handing me a dollar

outside the school
my stick of a child chonks her cough
so i'll feed her the alcohol
free remedy she hates

oak leaves quicken in the road
along the course a white heron lofts

the toadstool i watch
red splotch gold
has pursed its lips

and yet there were warm puddings and talk
soft rain last summer when i waited
in the loggia behind the house
while you died

one hand for you
one hand for the boat

your letter came
when i was getting the work part right
about the nursing man

page 63

those who'd been on his watch
stood to
as the storm encroached

they fought to look after him
harboured him
in the ICU palace

a temporary mooring
all hands
imagining where his body belonged

charted detail
charted hazard

leaned in
the way you would with a lover
and talked
as if his life depended on it

they said
the air ocean is soft
but the hurricane approaches
if you want to get home
you must sail at once

when he cast off
there was little enough to run with

all life's swimming in the air ocean
across the membrane
all life's wreckage

here floods sweetness
some tide swung in
your letter
to me