for Noah Goh
The morning you are born,
I am in the future and spy
a flower among the glossy leaves
of the magnolia. It is creamy,
perfect, not yet unfurled
but poised to break and blossom
with the turning of the hours.
In the past your mother lies,
strapped in a blue gown, waiting.
We all hold our breath, connected
by pixels and satellites—poor substitutes
for flesh, scent and human presence.
Rain here in Sydney veils the city.
A caul of wet drapes the buildings
that fist at and puncture the sky.
To my right the armadillo sweep
of the opera house, scales unmoving.
The steel-sprung back of the bridge
soars high above the harbour. A ferry paddles
on its everyday, pedestrian way, not knowing
that on a tiny island perched on the equator,
a baby is budding and will soon emerge
in mucus and blood, limbs flailing,
screaming, breathing. Free and beginning.