Release Day

Buildings jostle each other
Wall glowering at wall
Municipal murk seeps
Through the panes
Exposing regimented beds,
Humped husks in nightgowns –
Altogether alone.
  Stifled cries, fettered weeping
    whiff of factory food and living death
      as pain gaols hope.

The dimpled path by the paddock,
Still in the violet dusk
A sky full of starlings,
Singing each other to bed
Breezes stir the hedgerow
  As Ginger stumps to the fence
    to snuff her hand
      and wood smoke curls
        over mossy evening earth.

Footsteps on the cold floor
Sharp laughter, tutting, bed blocking
Impatient faces, twisted tubes
Pulse of machines, scratch of pen on chart
Hope dead, pain triumphantly
  shouting in her ear
    pulling out her hair
      stamping on her bones
        crushing, grinding
          moment to moment
            breath by breath by


Laying her hand on the dew-wet latch
She creaks open the farmhouse door
Hearth-warmed air embraces her
The scent of fresh-baked scones
  Her chair, by the fire
    her easel, by the window
      and all the old deplorables
        damp-eyed, laughing —
          you made it
            you made it, Lil.

Welcome home.


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