Head: A Poem
My head weighs as much as a Christmas
turkey. Imagine my head on a platter,
the waiter staggering under its weight.
Yet the memories inside my skull are lighter
than gossamer; they drift like weightless birds
on a warm updraft, or slowly become invisible.
I have seen Yosemite, and its waterfalls and
mountains are in my brain, as is
the monstrous cruise ship I sailed on and
the moon, in all its incarnations.
I have touched satin and concrete, silk
and stone, honey and quicksilver; all
are in there, as is the tang of eucalypts
on a searing day, the razoring of smoke in my throat,
the smooth yellow custard I made
with careful precision, because weights and
measures are in there, too. But the method
for working out the pesky train that travels
at different speeds between stations,
the poems I was forced to learn by heart
as a child, the exact sound of my parents’ voices –
if they are still inside my head, they refuse
to make themselves real again.
Now my head is back on the platter,
the electric saw buzzing, the bony skull
popping open, and a life-long movie is playing
onto the white wall where anybody passing
can put out their hand and make
a rabbit’s head of dark shadow play.
(First published Australian Poetry Anthology Vol 7, 2019)