Desert Fires – Fiona Kidman
The morning lake was ironed flat
As fresh blue linen, a heron
Was wedged in a willow tree branch.
I turned away from a lover’s kiss,
unwilling to plumb the heart of bliss,
for that’s Pandora’s box,
and I have worn memory like a shroud
too long; as with that chocolate box lake,
I cannot lift the lid,
there are evil sweetmeats
in its depths.
I did not know that the road south
would be so unsafe. Still
both victim and plunderer, seduction
was imminent. The hills lay like breasts,
the valleys opened like thighs, sister Sappho
joined me as I plucked each bush,
wild purple heather, downy toi-toi hair,
my hands bled from the rose bush thorns
yet still I gathered their scarlet hips,
I could feel their shape against my mouth:
I travelled on, the desert grew dark,
a strange cloud blotted out the world,
approaching cars warned me of the peril beyond,
with full-blown headlights at height of day:
then I saw the tongues of fire licking the plain.
Sisters, we consume and are consumed,
every country has its hear of darkness
and every heart its core of fear.
So I passed beyond the fires
and on the home straight run,
I told myself,
it all seems safe enough again.