Scene from Dominion Road I (The Mutton Birds, 1992)
Scene from Dominion Road I (The Mutton Birds, 1992)

BooksMay 12, 2023

The Friday Poem: ‘Dominion Road II’ by Grace Shelley

Scene from Dominion Road I (The Mutton Birds, 1992)
Scene from Dominion Road I (The Mutton Birds, 1992)

A new poem by editor and poet Grace Shelley.

Dominion Road II

My life in upheaval, untreated foundations always
pulling their feet out of sand or rock ready to march
to new climes, I walk again. I left you at a cafe to
meet your friend. There is a small digger parked
on the corner, behind the chain-link fence. I have
observed its angularity, unmoving for some months,
but I have never studied the ground, ridged and
clefted, undulating beneath the digger’s conveyer,
turned to rock pools with yesterday’s rain. I told you
last night that it’s okay, I understand, because I also
deeply hate myself. It is almost time to upheave again.

All the shops on this side of the road are empty, or
what we call empty. Empty of workers and wares, but
resplendent with dust and ripped-up carpet and beams
and holes diligently smashed in the back wall and puckered
mail from the bank. Peopled with the chalkboard menu
calmly stretched along the wall and the glittered shrine
in the back left corner and nothing else. Newspaper
sideways to cover the window, advertising shampoo and
vitamins and flu shots, yellowed, old, tender. Leaves,
and a broom, and a coathanger, and the reflection of a man,
and the reflection of me. I am too cynical for inspiration.

I cannot be buoyed by a plaque, no matter in how
large a variety of fonts it tells me that it’s not about
waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance
in the rain. For once I would like to downheave.
Couch in further. I walk past the cafe on my return,
and you are laughing with your friend, and your back
is towards the window.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed.

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