She Smells the Rain on Me

 She smells the rain on me again, behind
 the still warm stove. I have brought winter, though,
 in to her. My eyes full of the loose robe
 that all the dark way here, through the long climb,

 I have imagined - using the dark pine
 for cover. The fragrance of her soap I know
 and wanted all the evening down the slow
 back roads of trying to recall the time

 a year ago, when my feet crunched the gravel
 drive, by the broken swing, where a car that drove
 past, turned. Her first words then were of the rain

 upon my coat, and mine, the pine, the soapy smell
 of her loose robe, laid by the still warm stove
 for us. She smells the rain on me again.

46




 The Bee Farm
 after the painting by Clara Southern (c.1888), Warrandyte


 In a stillness without sharpness, she lends
 comfort to this raw afternoon. In from
 fast change of high-rise roads, she mends
 permanence. Coming back to the old song

 of the bees and her boxes, as I have
 to her. Nothing conflicts within the safe
 pastoral of grey and green. Her shawl is
 woven from the muted shadow of earth

 and trees. Night builds above her evensong
 and there is comfort in the moon: but no
 illusion. I know her grim privation
 the hours of back-breaking strain and slow.

 But like the dark sweet honey of her bees
 she stings along my blood with sacredness.


12



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