Looking at John Rabboné's Painting: "Notes from the Blue Terrace" Circa 1927


The pink lungs of a mule strain toward shade; his
yellowed lips saliva slick. The gardener wanders
late into the hills, unclothed in delirium. The nub
of his work thickens into bloom. He spends the day
threshing thrashing thatching until
the weight of a painted magpie
steadies him. One arm of the constellation
is a wing glazed with heat--a perfectly
beautiful waste of talent. Along the riverbank I water
my horse. The tin-rain-slosh shimmers
down her flank. The gardener stops and asks me:

What is it to die like this? He opens

his palm. He sees nothing in me astonished
by his offering. I am in the place he would not
circle--a lovely drop in his voice,
the makeshift sound of tanager in the backyard
of a monastery. The gardener turns in shadow
to retrieve a blue trace of awkwardness. The sun
here is also crazed.






But you remained that small girl who never looked up
as the nub of your yellow crayon
squared off a vacant paddock--beyond it a few perfect clouds,
the silhouette of a seagull. So going,
you discovered a scribble of hair, a self portrait, wind--caesura
of sleep. The steady darkness of the next room
caught in the doorframe. Through half open dream
a circle of crows flocked the verandah. As the night stilled its wing
His voice stirred--a radiant thrumming.

The flat moon divides the house with smoke. You sit at the hearth

choked with coughing until song breaks loose from the chimney
and a tremulous bird-call dismisses you. Tonight,
the rough slope of the hills reveal the bare shoulder
of a woman under the sky's changeless ink. For the first time
you see your beloved's eyes as two small rooms. Ragweed loosens
from your cinched hair as you kiss someone familiar. Later,

you will lie on the bed and stare at a diagonal
scar down the wall. If you gaze
long enough into this thin line you'll meet Him. He closes
His dim lantern
        over you           swiftly.