Parting Glass Pic

 

for M., asylum seeker and friend,

who attempted to take his own life at

North West Point Detention Centre

Christmas Island, in 2011.

 

The act is simple enough

remove lid from bottle

pour into plastic cup

pour like rain at midnight

a river’s sheen by firelight

your childhood framed in puddles

like a dream

 

the liquid claims light like

a jungle newly varnished

bright fishing boats in moonlight, until

ocean deep with dawn

like a prayer

 

lift the vessel high

to all you’ve ever known

close those eyes

to lovers and glances

music and dancers

beautiful hunger

shiver of sky

 

and in that moment

when rim meets

your mouth

relinquish

outstretched arms, eyes

of nieces

pull of letters

ropes of hope

your own face

 

then swallow

there will be searing

like villages blazing, cities

burning, plumes from boats

wire and want

ablaze

 

gulp

at new dark freedom

promise of oblivion, after pain

when this world sways

leave the afterglow

 

without your name.

 

Shortlisted for the ACU Prize for Literature