House H(a)unting, Fish Creek, Victorian by James Walton

House H(a)unting, Fish Creek, Victorian

An unborn dreaming hunger touched my wrist
outside the Nine Acres Cafe counting cars
as the southerly broke into fragments
the barista’s earnest feathered design
I’m thinking of how you plaited the ingot beads
and bound up the kneaded lot
over your shoulder like a Scandinavian sweetbread

a triage of verdant years passed to me
ears of wheat not hardened by the sun
friable in the way new things breathe
and out of the silken parcels of listening
sounds only baying dogs can hear
the best choices that could not be made

never meaning to just a pure accident
the football landed on my cousin’s head
knocking her down in the driveway my uncle drove me three hours home
explaining good and evil and values and did I see that rabbit rush over the road
I lied and said yes so as not be in the dark alone

out of the ancient songs of grass
a convocation of elemental striving
the first letter the final stroke the last wish
a Sunday morning newscast death
first encounter of wildfire incidents
the smell of dawn on a baby’s head

realizing it would be too busy
crossing them off in lots of five
why come so much further east unwise to another soggy falling down veranda
vagrant regrets on their knees reciting Marys
the Friday night make it right post
pass over prayers to make good their rosaried week

during the war my mother collected Yankee dollars
in a pony tail poised as a question mark
where the worn jaw line of Luna Park closed mid laugh
an old pier stretched out across quiet sighs in waiting
a silent point in mid horizon a cat on a window sill
above born again jets sprung from coin in the slot

a gas heater’s cracked honeycomb teeth
breathes out the smelly cooking hum
of the Victorian pressed metal ceilings
old empire colours gaudy and dour
along the hall the iron painted white
when someone got their Irish up
but by some grace left the intricate pattern tiles

a mohair scarf across reupholstered chairs
catches what beams between hand sewn coverings
and the tiny threads of everything there is
shine their small diorama floating and settling
muffling the speed of light to a rundown torch
enough to outline how limbs are formed no matter what

my life began in two small rooms a city away
wandering its slow punted canals
dodging school for rank creek and wild fennel
in boots of remnant polio
off landing me in a desiccate late Autumn day
waiting for the break
absently rubbing where the iron still hurts a little


James Walton
is an Australian poet published in newspapers, and many journals, and anthologies. Short listed twice for the ACU National Literature Prize, a double prize winner in the MPU International Poetry Prize, Specially Commended in The Welsh Poetry Competition – his collection ‘The Leviathan’s Apprentice’ was published in 2015.James Walton was a lot of things. A librarian, a farm labourer, a cattle breeder, and mostly a public sector union organizer. He is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. He is now invisible in his seventh decade.

3 Replies to “House H(a)unting, Fish Creek, Victorian by James Walton”

  1. Love House Haunting, Fish Creek Poem–would like to get permission to use it in Spare Change News but you’d have to send it to me in an attachment that I would forward to my Editor. Thanks in advance.

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