Its walls are thick-sliced pise;
the lean-to, wattle ’n’ daub.
A corrugated roof, more ridged than
a shingleback, holds three chimneys,
possums on the nightshift, and gutters
dripping echoes into rusting tanks.
Come nightfall, the kitchen draws us in—
fuel stove at one end; wood heater the other
where folk too slow for front row seats
ice over like the pipes on frosty mornings.
Louvres line verandahs so sleep outs
became sleep ins where wind chill
slips through the slats with
migrating Bogong moths.
Three shades of lilacs scent spring air
near the greening oak
whose bouffant summer look is legend;
so, too, the resident beehive.
Orchard trees bear quinces clad
in moth-eaten fur,
cherries whose white insides surprise,
and a surfeit of plums
but a puzzling distance from the house
the figs grow dense nets of clawing limbs
more suited to Mordor than the farm.
To reach in takes Frodo’s courage.
Lured by soft skins and full-sweet flesh
birds cannot break free.
Their carcasses cause some to pause
but those powerless to resist
are drawn to feast each season,
seeds clinging to fingers and chins.
* * *
A fire, electrical they said, took the house—
blackened walls and warped tin.
From the menu last night, I chose
figs drizzled with honey.