Poem — Fiona Kidman

Grass Street 2000-2015

I thought, this is my time. I don’t have it

for long, and the way here was never easy.

Lauris Edmond, poet

 

I don’t come here very often, once

every few years, although the house

is just over the hill from mine.

But on some January days, like today,

 

I’m drawn with an irresistible

longing to walk down the zigzag

path, to inhale the scent of new

cut grass, the rising fragrance

 

like hay paddocks of my childhood.

At number 22, there is still a big

NO NUKES sign on a concrete wall,

there used to be a rainbow painted

 

letterbox as well, fallen down

long ago. I stand and look up to the deck,

once covered with geranium filled pots

and all the people who used to come here

 

to talk and laugh and drink and quarrel

and make up. Today the house is empty,

not a curtain nor a stick of furniture

and the path is barred with branches

 

that must have been cut within the hour,

the sap fresh, the leaves still full of energy.

I remember the day when we stood there

saying one of our goodbyes and you said:

 

‘Some day I’ll be gone, and you’ll have

to get used to it.’ And I said, ‘Lauris,

that won’t be for years.’ She didn’t hint

at illness, although when you love someone

 

and expect them to stay, it’s easy to overlook

a certain frailty. I’m not sure that I’m used to it yet,

that sudden exit, though fifteen years

have dissolved and the house has been tumbling

 

down ever since. I have gathered nasturtiums

from a bank, laid them at the gate, looked again

towards the forsaken deck, could have sworn I saw

her flag of yellow curls, heard that throaty laugh.

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