TROUT   [5]

David Buchanan
Last Lunch - 'Chez Eelco'
  We could have been in Fremantle,
  sitting on that Nelson pavement,
  alfresco at 'Chez Eelco'.
  But there the summer light was gentler green
  and a freshness to the air
  required no daily doctor to relieve
  those shirking a red desert heat.
  Even on the narrow street
  'the shining bright land' drew my eye
  to those mountains attracting clouds
  like moths to lamplight.

  Your parents sat straight-backed
  with strained faces as they accepted 
  their grandchildren's gifts of 'goodbye'.
  In turn, you mother gave them a
  favourite video - 'Alice in Wonderland'.

  Reassurances that we'd be back
  next year were caught in
  a single glance glimpsed
  through the solid air
  of her remaining time -
  gone before the next Christmas cheer.

  Another generation - another valediction.
  Your father said nothing.
  She said 'next year dear',
  sighed and lit another cigarette,
  filtering white smoke
  through darkened obstructed lungs
  to drift on windless movement
  like cloud against the cafe pane.

  Later, she helped us pack,
  never quite able to fit everything in -
  her green eyes outward looking
  saw your father garden into a twilight
  of wan Tasman watercolours
  fading on their wonderland -
  as our children chased cabbage moths
  like white rabbits through a golden afternoon.

  © 1998