7 August, 2021
Ripped from the Trees
I return from the north on a train,
away from warm leaf-litter smells,
the humid pulse of the forest,
the myriad colours, mostly green,
from ancient life in countless forms,
back into wintry smog-filled air.
Ripped from the trees, my tropical heart
hurtles south on steel tracks,
too fast for my head to catch up.
Through dirty glass, the land transforms,
plants become familiar, farms
grow bigger and signs of civilisation
increase until, after one day and a night,
my journey ends in the capital.
I walk over concrete and avoid
desperate eyes and speeding vehicles.
An alien, I wander around the town
where I was raised and think of waterfalls.
The deafening downpour of my memory
drowns alarms and traffic sounds.
Paperbark peels from my brain to soften
the sharp focal point of the street.
Soon the forest fades as I land hard
with a face mask and a check-in app
that fails to upload. Forced to engage
in city business, I let go of the real world.
The breathing trees retreat,
with kingfishers, butterflies,
creeks, vines, palms and ferns,
to hide in the north of my mind.