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13 June 2013updated 02 Feb 2015 4:13pm

“Paying off the Mortgage”: a poem by Olivia Byard

By Olivia Byard

In the end it’s obscenely easy –
the sudden windfall, a debit card
a phone call.
                I stare at magnolia walls,
same colour, same picture frames –
try to pinpoint relief, but all I can see –
is ants with aphid eggs on their backs
a hedgehog’s pallet-hideaway,
the garden store’s field mice
hunter spiders in cracks.
                              And beneath us,
worms, and the earth’s hot thin crust –
miles of shifting, cracking rock
down to magma – that heaving roil
around a compressed solid core
of crystals, lengthier than Everest is tall
and where the world’s magnetic field
is formed –
                to repel radiation
as the fleet planet spins, and decree
north is north, and south, south,
until it tips us arse-about
on a whim.
              While above us
heady sky miles, where low-riding birds
sweep in to nest among hawthorn twigs
within the sight-line of infinite stars.
                 How could we
hold more than a brief repairing lease
with rackety windows, walls and floors,
on a patch of dirt, like this?

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