There is a grey payphone attached to the wall.
When it rings I sometimes forget
and think it might be you.
I would tell you of the simple things –
how I leave the house, too full of students,
and walk the city’s streets.
How the street stretches across the canal to the market stalls,
how the vendors call and hold up fruit or turn
to the child crying on the bridge. How I buy flowers.
How I pass the old clock and the chocolate shop,
where the windows will soon be stocked
with yellow bonnets and chicks.
How they serve tea in tall glasses, without milk,
how in spring they’ll set out wicker chairs
for people to sip their drinks and smoke cigarettes.
How, back inside I’ll cut the tulips’ stems
and place them gently in the vase I bought last week –
blue delft, like the plate you inscribed with my birth date.
To see a stationary wave of sandstone blocks
cascade towards the Harbour Bridge
seems less strange than a black cross woven into rock
on a monolith built from pebbles of threaded quartz.
They say, at night you can hear the wings of bats flap
as they leave their box, hidden inside the stagnant sea,
and that the cross glows violently in the moonlight,
when they settle in the roped-off Wollemi Pine.