Issue 27: NAME

Out of Doors

after Fiona Hile

Thinking this morning of you turning slowly voice stirring

up from the underside of the wattle, that without asking

or even thinking really we hesitate through the greenery and


of the condition for reading poetry, curled like small and

glittering snails on the path to speech. These fingers

and toes our witless banksias look out for interminable

satire. These poor feet, they ventilate, muddy my

effusions and the bark of most—trees. Opinion on enjambment

the paperbarks want fertilizing, the brain burns

sloughs all attachment to an over-ripe but heartfelt

thought in

reality totally unable to explain the difference we’ll feel

creep in tendrily tomorrow—

Cultivated by the idea of poetry, howling like a kangaroo paw

in the windy air blue and plastic like a spade

whose swaying green underside does belie

the vaulted whites that change and change again

you, a visible hand in the garden

paddocked in the scrubby abstraction of

courtyard. Sunning within the particulates

of the hour, you historicize

yourself and fronds of earthly multitudes

overwhelm me like the benefit of conclusion

after ambitious intention. In lieu of your death

and rebirth you promise to your surrounding soil

“strengthen such puny things as remain for I have

defaulted on the ending and begun the intentional

entire integer of mildewed forgotten business”

Afterwards the hair of trees peeling down the sky to the footpath

was all I could concretely say of

the garden from which

we had been reading so well our fingers and toes filled with the sighs of lilly pillys

And all of my bones were rebuilt with the welcome of dirt

Out of our this or that humanity you translated a slender line of honeysuckles basically

songs that I learnt by means of my hills-hoist brain

and lungs pleated as the ever-remembering and quarrelsome textile

of thousands of truculent bull ants whose sweet and biting protestations

had become organized in informalesque pockets

of social fact. Then the disobedient rhymes

of the treetops sentimental in which haloing the silky small possums

came to mean doing nothing to the air at all

Calling up to the cockatoos was scant footnoting on the level of shrub

ruffling young king parrots closing our eyes in the big morning of chartered insects

unreadable understandings, spelling out the sheen on the wallaby droppings dappled

articulate marsupial mice ruminating amid a tessellated fresco of handmade leaves.

Enlightening. Blue plastic sky. The tiny house went nowhere at all, driveways of march

flies parking their lost earnings of mischief in the glittering mica of bitumen. Of the poem,

the branches were holding on. Elbows poised for the inevitable like a satellite dish

bolted to a roof. Imagining the insufficient theatricality of mold

aghast with the big picture quality of rioting sunshine

your bower my roots, are pleasantly parallel suspending through the layered

world signaling the undertaking: your love of gardening

Open the gum trees and they’ll explode

Tendency to amorousness bittersweet as reason. Forgive the mind of the mind

still indolently expanding the archaeology of poetry spooned as sandy topsoil through the hollow

of the red gum. Magpie’s photographically perfect nest and hatchlings substituting

for any other backyard topiary scene or weekend memory. Fences cancelling the hinterland

into tempted sophistry. Emendations to this or that patio of the garden of the free-floating

idea of ancientness bricked into the flanks and shoulders of certain quasimythological family cars. Eucalypts ferns and every ornamental stencil of lichen

each felted mossy growth as if from actual loam, transparent in feeling now

PDF version (176KB)

Claire Nashar is an Australian poet resident of Buffalo, NY.

Copyright © 2022 by Claire Nashar, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.