Museworthy: Curfew


reflection of the bridge in the train window
where it meets other things: most beautiful
sad blue harbour in an afternoon light that
can barely keep itself from darkness; sky-
scrapers, hairs of the city standing on end
with all that electricity; ghosts like nets
catching no-one's attention; the bitter part
of us made ardent profile by the glass reply
of flattery. we are all going somewhere
while clouds brick in the sky and hidden in
the sleeves of the city birds suddenly fly
out like aces — always too many when we
suspect the world of cheating — then
circle like a necklace on the square; the
buildings, tall bright columns of sun, cast
shadows soft as eyelashes falling, their
edges dulled by clouds... this city on paper
is as if seen only through these windows and
upon and beyond it stands a man with a
gun. he

is looking for the curfew imposed by his
shaky mind and demands that we all
listen for this in the floor. down there I
remember the visions of my childhood
and meet this man as a boy standing
outside his own expectations of softness
meeting rules — what he didn't know and
nobody taught him but he knew the embryo
of it always — that came with his skin; with
that intuition of possibility that draws a
wavering line around every thing and
thought... we

wait to see if he will shoot any of us but it
is not really like waiting; it is more a kind
of naive anticipation of life — that it will be
ongoing and can be suggested in what
goes on around us if only we do the right
thing. in the middle of all this suddenly is a
woman's voice, interior, broken and real:
You must understand that you do not need
a reason.
no-one saw him get off the train.
in my street the trees wander like lost threats
that want to move because of the stars. when
I get home I want to walk the dog but the dog
is tired.


MTC Cronin has had six books of poetry published, the most recent being Talking to Neruda's Questions and Bestseller (both Vagabond Press, 2001). Another collection, My Lover's Back, is forthcoming in 2002 (UQP). She is currently working on a PhD, Poetry and Law: Discourses of the Social Heart, and has recently received an Established Writers New Work Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. Her books are available by contacting her at: <> or ph: (02) 9550 2918.

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