There are moths that cross a continent to die in this city.
As black cutworms they suckle Queensland’s
saplings but by spring
the heat is already too much and they make the difficult passage, flying
by night on an inner compass that draws them
here—a place where nothing is too much, where
shunting down the slender reaches of William Hovel Drive
I forget that I’m alive. A city is
a claustrophobic way to be alone.
Some afternoons I feel the whole city in heat—
the pent-up quarter-ache
in Barrenugli’s confinements. Though I
love the smell of water simmering in the evening
in a hose left out on the lawn.
I want to feel the wind on my back
now that I’m back in the peloton trying
to write to the click-a-clack of my spokes to find a meter—any—
on the boulevard of this city windborne
with thighs around me pumping like pistons.
When the frost first lifts from the sprigs
the moths arrive. More than once through ventilation shafts they’ve entered
the galleries of parliament—a dissenting
mob demanding only a place to breath in a building
far too much like a flag
piercing the hill’s rump at the moment of annexation.
Like that they were embalmed
and the house closed two days for renovation.
Between your breasts I rest my head
when the black hair of the afternoon malts in ashen clumps
from five hundred insolvent
wishes for some modest certainties. From here
I see the gradient of a mountain
baptised with a slur
for the remnants of another people
who dwelt there in the circuit of their own certainties
for durations that can only seem now dreamlike in their expanse,
here they gathered to eat moths that chose this place
to die. Let me be like them—these moths—these dizzy
vagrants, churning through the elements on wings
of paper, so fixed on their final coupling
they cannot eat.
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