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No birdsong nor alarm could pull me
from the murmurations. I rise late,
rubbing my hard edges against
the surface of day. Even the softest light
grows a husk over static matter.
My love has gone to work, leaving
a bowl of figs in his place. Today’s promise:
a walk around the block,
a phone call with my grandmother,
whose hair follicles shiver from chemo.
Language returns to the morning —
praise the cherry tomatoes
I blacken on the stove.
Praise the cells that die and regenerate
to weave a new skin. I thank my Maker
for a body that forgets itself.
I come to remember —
there is no lover nor fig
to mark the end of an hour.
The ones I love are deep
in the tangle, untouched for months.
I must crawl into the wet labyrinth
of vine, my ear pressed against the earth,
listening until it is safe to follow.
Eunice Andrada is a poet and educator whose debut collection Flood Damages won the Anne Elder Award and was a finalist in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the Dame Mary Gilmore Award. She is a judge of the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry in the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
This poem appears in Openbook Autumn 2021.