I’ve recently discovered that I can use the voice recorder on my iphone to catch lines of poetry that would otherwise float out and away. I’ve used the voice recorder before, but only to capture snippets of Monkey’s singing. I do lots of pram walks with Sparrow along the creek near my house, and this poem arrived, fully formed, last week. My partner has gone to pick up Monkey with a sleeping Sparrow in the car, so I’ve had 45 minutes alone in the house (I can’t remember the last time this happened). I could have done a load of washing, but I’ve chosen to transcribe this poem and post it instead.
At dusk the men gather near the toilet
in the park that is a beat. I am
wearing my jeans and my boots and I wonder
am I safe? I am pushing my baby,
my dog is next to me and I wonder
am I safe? And I wonder how much can happen
to me between here, and there?
It is a dark part of the path. The wall
on one side, the creek on the other. The ducks landing,
sliding, sound sinister, suddenly. And I wonder
how much can happen, between here, and there?
Would I be pulled down from behind with a hand
around my neck? Because if you’d have asked
me, twenty years ago, I would have said
please. I was a thick girl in black tights,
in boots, waiting, to be taken.
But now I am thirty six. Now I have a child and a
baby and two dogs. Now I only hope
it will not rain so that we can all get to the park
in the day, in the sun, to fly your octopus kite.
Now I do not dare dream of disaster, but it
comes upon me, unbidden, anyway.