The Saturday Paper

Three poems

- Mike Ladd is a poet and radio producer who lives on Kaurna land.

Moonrise in a new suburb

Colorbonda­ge: fences edging the raw lowness.

On this street

Google maps can’t find yet

a full moon has just been released.

Seems no one else saw it jump the rooftops –

all the TV lights through curtain cracks.

Over waste ground winter green,

a moon on parole.

The cat of Lisbon

The cat of Lisbon listens in its sleep – the summer rustles outside and a Marcha band echo-locates the street.

When gulls cry from the Tagus, the cat’s ears flick – its ancestors went with Cabral and Da Gama down that estuary, ratcatcher­s in Macau, Timor,

Goa and Brazil – riches shining there like a sardine’s belly.

The cat of Lisbon is a white tabby, a fine dark streak either side of its spine, leopard spots like an old azulejo from Mozambique.

A cat full of saudade, it knows there’s an other self on a balcony it can never reach, even if it balanced on the washing lines and leapt the centuries.

The fire enters Fairy Dell

White flakes fall, a breeze picks up, the valley fogs with grey.

A forest kingfisher spotlit by halogen-yellow sun preys on moths escaping –

then flits as well.

The orange dancers come; the quivertree­s.

Black crescents spiral down that once were green lance tips in the sky.

Two wattle birds still chase and squabble though their territory’s alight.

The elemental is here. It has a strange beauty – heresy to call it so.

Up on Chatsworth Road, neighbours with hose and rake collectivi­se their firebreak.

A pendulum of water bomb swings from a chopper’s underside – a wrecking ball for flame.

Unseen, god-like, the pilot leaves in a throbbing arc.

Up on the ridge

Fire trucks pulse carmine and blue into dance-floor smoke that came from crowds of eucalypts.

And now it’s fully dark.

The stumps are glowing in Fairy Dell like lanterns on a Shinto path.

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