Before you can turn around …

Chapter I
in which she fails to stop the sun  

The ocean has a lap of gold.
The blood orange sun has a pulse
despite the fall.

A cluster of tiny suns
weighs the Pandanus.
Flushed with Cointreau,
they drop to the sand
where we crack the back of a crab,
pile shards,
making a Burnt Sienna piece of art
that the tide dismisses
as ‘derivative’.

The tide is urgent
and forgets a rock cod,
leaves it to spotted chance.
On its way out,
it strips an ocean bed
that’s ribbed and red as the desert
seen from the air.

A Brahminy Kite circles,
circles tighter,
drops for something salty,
invisible to those who merely wish to fly.

On the deck of a ship
just up from Broome
we watched the eclipse of the moon:
old blood,
rotted veins,
a sick terror.
My mother, who died a month later
with no warning except for this,
wasn’t fazed by the sun
filling the moon,
didn’t agree it felt wrong
and signed the release form.

With my mother out of the way,
death has a claim.
It leans closer.
It threatens a whole sun
before too long.

Then, just to ruin the sunset,
a four-wheel-drive gouges the beach,
pumping music
that no-one should waste their life on,
blowing dirty diesel
across my chances.

And before you can turn around,
the sun melts,
the day bleeds,
the sea is up to its neck in it.

We are drenched in colour,
drunk in a peppered red.
We end our days
exhausting pastels,
wearing the sky.
Remade as art,
we no longer need to fly.

About sandrathibodeaux

Poet and Playwright
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6 Responses to Before you can turn around …

  1. Bronwyn says:

    More gold from our Poet in Residence. Takes me to Wagait at sunset and to places both intimate and universal. Cracking crabs, crap music on the passing breeze, mortality and beauty. Worth getting out of bed for.

    • Yes. If I don’t see the sunset on a particular day, I feel like that day didn’t happen. This is why I could never live in the middle of a large city – I need to be able to see the sky and the falling sun. x.

  2. Val says:

    Ah, you make me long for sunsets on a tropical sea. But I can sit on my back verandah and watch the sun set over fields yellow with Autumn. Or listen to the crackle of dry leaves underfoot…..

  3. Graham Nunn says:

    This is so vivid Sandra, burstuing with colour and the salt of the ocean… can’t wait to hear some of these poems live.

  4. Cheers, Graham. Freezing in Melbourne at the moment and missing all of this!!

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