Michael Aiken


As we stepped over tulips

              onto coarse tussocks
              by tea-coloured mud and water,
tiger snakes sunning half out,
              a freshwater crayfish falling off a log.

You caught the sun.
              The way you smile
is like a child like you
              whom the light loves…

I didn’t bring you here,
              and maybe never would.

The other day we
              took the train beside
the escarpment draped with
              rainforest, its own micro-ecosystem,
localised rainshadow overlooking so many
shark infested, storm-exposed beaches,
              the firepits and enormous iron
coke ovens steaming amongst the palm trees,
tracks washed away by rain, and the rail bus
sent to rescue us skidding the whole way down the pass.

You came with me.

              The two places are forever
separate, divorced, now  
and can never be together.

Your hair and your tie and your passport remind me
all the time you came along with me,
              or I escorted you.

Your bike hit puddles and you were delighted;
your head brushed branches, overhanging loquats
as I walked up the path,
and you were happy.



Michael Aiken is a writer living and working in Sydney, Australia. His verse and prose has appeared in various journals, including Shampoo, foam:e, unusual work and Best Australian Poetry. His first full length collection, ‘A vicious example’, is due out late 2014 with Grand Parade Poets.