For my brother Lindsay, 1957–1999
The earth’s circumnavigated the sun once since your heart stopped beating. Aimlessly I wander the circular paths. Lost. The kind lady proffers directions and a colourful brochure. You’d have approved of the sharp repro... ‘All burial memorials are set flush with the lawns.’ No heaven-pointing verticality here. The lawn has grown back over the worst of my griefscars. I miss your sense of humour mostly. Like a man in a cemetery two black ants wander aimlessly across your black marble desert. It looks like four. The biggest reconnoitres the terrain of your blockletter-chiselled name. His feet touching the inverted feet of his reflection in the alternate cosmos. The blackmirrored barrier between parallel universes. Like you and me, infinitely close, unable to connect. They mow on Tuesdays. The smaller ant scavenging pollen from a withering daisy which has escaped the scythe. You’d approve of the recycling. Elsewhere, Life and Death go on. Bored gravediggers use a Kubota backhoe in Fischer-Price colours. Spades are anachronistic – dig? We could wordplay all day here, Linds. A cemetery is such fertile ground for humour... The last grieving party of the day has left. The astro-turf has been rolled up. Are you laughing, looking up at these poor bastards who have to mow your resting place for Eternity?
Rob Walker recently completed a poetry residency at the Adelaide City Library. He has taught performing arts at primary school level in Adelaide and English at high school and adult levels in Japan. He has appeared widely in both print and online poetry outlets in the UK, US and Australia, and is the joint winner of the 2007 and 2009 Newcastle Poetry Prizes, and this year’s Friendly Street Satura Prize. He has published four collections of his poetry, the latest being Tropeland, from which this poem comes.
Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to firstname.lastname@example.org. A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.