Anthony Lawrence


It’s unlikely I’ll need the life-jacket, box of flares
the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon

oars, first aid kit, the cut-down baseball bat
should a caught shark ever come alongside

then aboard, the echo sounder, navigation maps
and charts showing water depth

shipwrecks, marine parks and currents
the bird book with Osprey and Swamp Harrier

underlined with red pencil, the bottle
of Eldorado demerara rum you insisted

is the embodiment of the sound
of each syllable in the word Guyana

and now that I have summoned you
I will pour a glass and drink it in your name

as it’s been a year since you left, dispersing
wake that ended as a list I feel compelled

to make and remake as I watch you go
trailing windy black rope lines of hair

your face, when you turn back then away
a pulse of red light below a warning lamp.

An Idea of Home

Anyone who knows what it’s like to walk home in raining light
on moor grass or the about-to-rain dark on a road
either side of an underoroverpass can tell you that being out
     at night heading home so tired the earth
is making a place for you with every step an eiderdown of soil
weeds thistle heads asphalt and if you’re in love
and the road goes out like a searchlight and you have miles
     to go before you sleep as with the little horse and bells
and you can’t see for cloud the rain stinging your eyes closed
then lie down where the sheep have made a cutting on the hill
or where the homeless have cut names in a bakery wall
     if you’re alone and content with how a singular point
of view makes sense of sleep and finance and the fireplace
where you burned his letters has been walled over like a mouth
stopped near the end of an elegy then keep going through
     wind that burns your face with ice on the road
the black windows of the inn or downtown bar your hands
gone to featureless animals stunned in your pockets
your breath a thick white bloom on repeat about your head
     your voice like the meta-theology of praise in the story
of the hawk or pigeon over yew tree and traffic light lie down
where you are with prayers and the old smoke of mist
coming off the carriageway crows use to avail themselves
     of the heads of mice with dawn hours away and a dream
of a thatched cottage being torn down like a small theatre
with a ball swinging in from the margins of despair so go
under into sleep and wake in the ragged light of the early
     nineteenth century with someone crying out for bread
or help in the blood trail of a beating as you beat grouse
from low bushes clapping just to hear them
break cover as you break and ask yourself who you are
     now that morning has made the idea of home
into a riddle you solve by saying its name until it sounds
ridiculous until the promise of the grave or bed are equal
parts haunting and nourishment.

Anthony Lawrence has published sixteen books of poems, the most recent being 101 Poems (Pitt Street Poetry, 2018). His last book before that, Headwaters, also from PSP, won the 2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry. He teaches Creative Writing at Griffith University, Queensland, and lives with his partner and two crazy dogs on Moreton Bay.

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