Neil Armstrong’s Three-Stage Punctuation
by James Walton

In the slow orbit of wombats
my house hangs on to the hill,
the yellow frog flaunts the leaping crimson spinnaker of its jump
to the swallows’ rue at my reflective door,
white lightning shudders in liftoff from another countdown.

Wind dies.

Apple blossom carries the love-letter kiss of butterflies,
delivered in the slow somersault breeze
moon landing clumsy, on the creek now river.
Stars tumble into it, where the eyes of my people well at the eddy;
dreams caught wanting the release of gentle hands not fossicking.

Later, on the plain before Narrandera:

Sun and moon stare it out on the flat,
through moving windows, I make no ground in their yellow orange disregard.
Rise and set, clocking on and off.
They know the contraband in my head is safe,
no small step can approach it.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We drove to the Byron Bay Blues festival (Australia) to see B.B. King, Mavis Staples, and Bob Dylan. We left just after a small earthquake, and 650 kilometres into the trip on the first day went from mountains to flatland, where the sun set and a full moon rose across the plain at the same moment. Felt like a journey through space and time, but somehow still in the same place, so vast we didn’t seem to be moving. A bit of past, present, and something to come.

PHOTOGRAPH:Quake light on Linn’s Hill” by James Walton.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Walton is from the Strzelecki Mountains in far South Gippsland — the last step off the Australian mainland before Antarctica. His work has appeared in several journals and anthologies. He was shortlisted for the ACU National Literature Prize in 2013, and Specially Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition 2014.