Melly, was that you at Blythe St this morning
when the tram grated and showered sparks into the sky?
I swear I felt one land on me, blonde and warm.
I was at our corner stop, eating danishes from Filou's,
the ones that gave us sugary moustaches
and the old ladies something to stare at.
Last night was the warmest one we've had in August. Was that you?
In those clammy nights long ago, stuffed in our backyard tents
after torch-lit stories of the Frankston Strangler and Cut-Throat Jack,
tossing in my sleeping bag, I'd finally touch your face
in the dark, your two front teeth
beneath my fingertips,
square and solid.
The brook always laughs louder when I come near.
Are you happy to see me? We never did catch any fish
but they know our stories. They know which teachers we liked,
they know calculus and Sonya Hartnett's books,
they know how scared you were.
We'd cry, sometimes.
Sometimes, there's a red leaf on my window sill,
glowing and fading with the morning light.
Piles of them on the way to school, you'd kick, I'd jump,
we'd spin. We'd vow to roadtrip to Uluru in winter.
Was that your red desert dust still clinging to my skin,
under my nails, in my hair when I returned?
I washed it, it turned to blood.
There was a silence today in the park. I walked home
and there was no one, not even a possum. The leaves were still,
the cars were still.
Against the sunset, a bird started singing.
Was that you, Mel? Was that you?