The Things

Jill Jones

 

I lean on the gate. It’s cold & metallic, & that is completely reassuring — A peeled banana, almost whole & reasonably fresh, in front of the green garage door down the street — Someone’s up a ladder doing house repairs to the tune of ‘All My Friends are Getting Married’ —Abandoned fold-up stroller under a jacaranda near a street corner. It’s been there a while, leaf dust accumulating in its folds — ‘I win again’ says little girl to daddy in the race up the garden path to the front door — A large magnificent orange & black winged insect is roaming around between three almost pristine fake grass patches on the verge — Two empty longnecks of Hahn SuperDry on a bench on the verge, but socially distanced — A microwave oven sits on top of a station wagon’s bonnet. A sign attached to it says ‘For Sale $30’ — Furry carcass on the verge, skull bones protruding from one end. Large rat, I guess — She says to me: ‘They are playing music from the 20s. The Great Depression.’ Gestures to a nearby house then walks towards the rail crossing with a small plastic bag of groceries — A mother & son are at the nets at Goodwood Oval. She’s batting: ‘Show me what you got’. He bowls very wide. Next one a little tighter & short-pitched. He’s wearing sunglasses — Dad on bike explaining stuff to kid on bike — A rainbow emerges from clouds chalked onto a cement driveway — The delivery guy keeps his distance, ‘must be safe’, says ‘I’m 64 with a crook chest, it’ll carry me off’, gestures upwards, ‘hey sky, if you want me now, you can take me’, waves & drives off — A black & white butterfly hovers above me near the oval entrance. Is it the colour of my shirt (magenta) that interests it, or the leaves, the weeds? — A man stands at a bus stop, wiping his face with his right hand — The physically distanced chairs in the waiting room make it feel we’re part of a performance that either hasn’t yet begun or has begun with no script, score or instructions. We are the performance — A discarded & cracked white plastic fork under a tree — Walking towards East Avenue I hear the tolling of the rail crossing & the station’s loudspeaker, announcements without bodies — The once-fresh banana cast down near the green garage door is now blackening & two centipedes crawl around it — It’s overcast, a few spits of rain, & the gate’s metal feels chilly. I don’t linger

 

 

Jill Jones’ most recent books include Wild Curious Air, A History Of What I’ll Become, and Viva the Real, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry and the 2020 John Bray Award. In late 2014 she was writer-in-residence at Stockholm University. Her work features in recent anthologies including The Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry, Contemporary Australian Poetry and Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry. Currently she is a member of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide.

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