Friday, September 28, 2012

Mis-step: a poem after the death of Jill Meagher

We saw her repeated face
wrinkled round poles, clicked across screens.
One out of so many, and
suddenly more familiar:
more like everything
I have ever done.

Regret gnawed at my inattention
to every missing face
the dismissal of old or unwell
those with no one to laminate
their care. Who takes down
the posters, afterwards?

My trudge to work wore its
cowlike track, frayed
the same groove in library carpet.
Students hunched, studying
the view past wedding dresses
squinting faces into pixels.

Every day we have gone out,
gone home, snipped seconds
up like chance is a pair of scissors. 
Love can't assume each kiss
is the last event of a warm mouth:
we would shred, exhausted.

I woke to find we were to carry
a brick of morning news
and sky like grey cake.
What cannot be reversed will be

I had half-waited for the magic ending
a dirty tired face streaked with relief
to tell us at the last minute
it didn't really happen:
this mis-step
of time.

Rest in peace, Jill Meagher.

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