what century are we in? What time is it?
From across the closed world you tell me
you imagine your bookshelf as a row of edible leaves.
I order my days as a Vermeer woman in an apron—
baking bread, taking time to make the bed, the one I lie on
drowning in white noise I call the Hum.
The other day, I don’t know which one, I heard a call.
It was new to my garden.
I wanted to understand how Time had lodged itself
in that black-capped turn
of a curious head. It had one eye cocked
giving me the time of day
before setting off on some miraculous migration.
Or was it, like me, here to stay?
In some loose part of me I hoped it would never end—
this day, this reckoning sky
now open to conversations with small things
climbing stairs an hour each day
my solo trek to the top of the mountain
enough oxygen to make my way down
Julie Maclean’s poetry, fiction and reviews have appeared in Griffith Review, Best Australian Poetry, Cordite Poetry Review, Island, Overland, Plumwood Mountain, Poetry (Chicago), Rabbit and Southerly. She is the author of four pamphlets and one full collection, When I saw Jimi, Indigo Dreams, UK (joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize, UK). www.juliemacleanwriter.com