In her hands, this stilled
sunlit wave. We place our order for pizza and slightly
turning see her . . .
Spaghetti streams from the machine
and she holds it like hair, wheat-blonde, wet-combed,
long lazy strands
from the scalp of a child
or someone ill.
Soon we will walk talcum-shadowed
under melaleucas flaking their filo bark.
On a bitumen hill,
snow gulls with red-hot beaks
will melt, watching our fingers fill
with teased gold cheese, warm dough
and a predatory perfume of prawns . . .
We will join a glitter of lunchtime pausers,
parked like an audience at a broad daylight drive-in —
all feeding on the sight of sea
blissed blue-green-turquoise — an ocean opening itself
industriously smashing its sparkle
then calming back
into something huge and whole again.
But first: we pause with pasta. Here, under a stucco sky,
Chianti bottles are basketed in dust —
but in the woman’s hands, sun-on-water sets.
Like a swooping bird her scissors slowly
snip the loopy light. She scoops it all towards her, then
settles its swirling life like a boneless wing
on a bench to dry . . .
Outside in the sun the day is proving,
rising sweetly ordinary
as she begins again again
to embrace whatever the still
steel offers —
to comb out to air this gold,
to coax it into her arms and to fill
our watching with these drooping, resting waves
she has comforted as much as she can hold.
(from The Satin Bowerbird 1998)