Anxious Itinerant

Patricia Sykes


Travel, the long impermanence,

winding toward a coast town

on a dusk road. Sunset, harbour,

and the chance of a fee bed

as if sanctuary can be paid for.

The estuary blinks all night,

one red eye, one green,

safe, unsafe, polarities of ebb,

flow. At daybreak, pelicans

calmly afloat, riding the same

pulse that rocked the womb

I slept within under a tin roof

whose stars chinkled like rain.

Now here, woken again from

darkness, inside a paper-thin

cabin crushable as infancy.

Years are not what ages

the span. The perpetrator

is longing, hover dreams

that weigh less than light.

Feet might yearn upwards

but bitumen is insatiable,

spider veins that entrap and

feed. Ground, the one solid,

encumbered, the anchor.


Patricia Sykes is a poet and librettist. Her collaborations with composer Liza Lim have been performed in Australia, Paris, Germany, Russia, New York and the UK. She was Asialink Writer in Residence, Malaysia, 2006. Her most recent work is The Abbotsford Mysteries (Spinifex Press, 2011).

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