‘I’ll have to let the moonlight in tonight,’
my neighbour says, leaning out her undressed
kitchen window toward a twilight veil
of mosquitoes. Behind my about-to-bloom screen
of giant blue salvias, her curly head rises,
cratered with age but beaming
over the sage green leaves.
Before she lets the sun in, she shakes off
the shadows of leaves it has gathered
falling through wattles and gums.
She Japanese-gardens the footpath,
raking up every paw print.
She leaves, normally, no leaf unturned.
But this is the first fine evening
for a fortnight, so now after neatening
her house, she hangs green mists
on her rotary clothes hoist. Outside her gate,
just for tonight, gravel sleeps
under wattle chenille. The juice of sunset spills,
staining us as we talk. Over the lake,
surprised by the sky’s uncurtaining,
one star comes out to drink.
Laughing, my neighbour leans out …
then floats back. Though darkness sweeps
around the mulched ankles of my blue buds bending
and around my feet as I turn away …
I see tonight already
she has let the moonlight in.
(from Practising Breathing 1991)