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Canoe

The whole poem drives to the final and key line ‘a yearning will soon be done’. The rest is tension. The young lovers and the world around them vibrating as a thousands-of-years-old practice is described. The jar of the word ‘neon’ describing the scar tree jolts us towards the unknown. – Paul Kelly

Canoe
Ali Cobby Eckermann

a girl watches a bead of sweat roll
tracing the muscles on his arms
as he lowers the freshly cut bark
moist grass provides a cushion
he turns to stare at her stillness
her eyes remain above his head
the soft flesh of the tree expires
the scar bleeds on the trunk
outside the smoky fire she stands
he dries and shapes the fresh canoe
the structure forms to natures laws
a new dais of voyage prepared
at midnight they sail the river
she turns without causing a ripple
looking back along the darkness
to the neon of the scar tree
it shines like a bended doorway
a light within beckons as if a
sacred star has fallen and a
yearning will soon be done

From Inside my Mother, Giramondo, 2015

Artwork: Dan Kyle. The Beginning of Summer, 2020. Oil and mixed media on board, 122 x 122 cm.