Linda Adair – Suddenly at sea

Adair LE P&W 3 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three Nov-Dec 2023.

Suddenly at Sea, poems by Linda Adair.

Suddenly at sea

Back in mountain clouds
folding laundry
my swimsuit retains the scent
of the Indian Ocean’s salty
clarity and sunlight washes me

our limestone coast walk
coffee-in-hand conversation
undercurrents and kelp
snorkellers and children explore
as we tiptoe along the edge

navigate our course
adrift after years beyond
birthright’s close dyad
a sharp reef to wreck upon
we seek sushi sashimi wasabi

we anchor the day
in habit’s safe harbour
pedicures shoe shopping
buy salmon salad sticky date pudding
share a home cooked meal at last.

Day two quick coffee
you drive past white sand beaches
covered in thick weed
we enter Cottlesloe’s swell
your curls stay mortar-board ready

my first taste of summer
I plunge into the water headfirst
shock lethargy away
float with my eyes shut smiling
buoyant on the languid swell

meanwhile on the sand
you read about the psychology
of Russian women
serial killers … why
they did what they did and to whom

mother daughter trips
are not what they used to be
you are consumed by work
while all I want is to have fun
& make light while the sun shines.

As if I could forget where I am

… the tram bells sound
on my feet I hold the strap
count stops ready to
tap off & change lines
then I see Cafe L’ incontro
where we drank the last coffee
on that May day in 2019.

Suddenly the sting of maternal tears
threatens my mascara as I recall
the sinews of intimacy
stretched to bind
the fresh wound of separation
we had flown in from our respective cities
to see that iconic couture exhibition
we had brunch at the gallery
and talked
then poured over every
pleat fold and bias cut
in that show
over a late lunch
we talked then walked
and talked some more.

Just today you have just flown
in a single-engine prop plane
along the coast of Broome
I watched that reel here
momentarily alone
scampering away
from expectation
doing what I needed to do
to centre myself
only to find I still miss you
wishing you were here
to see Goddess
which I know you would love.

As the flowers lost their bloom

Acid stung a wound
I heard the cry
your heart silently screamed
barely uttered in text

no one else heard
the arrythmia of your despair
I know I was not supposed to

your impassive gaze
buttressed emotions
a stalwart blokey trope
professional resignation
it’s only politics or a lack of solidarity

What do you want?
To solve it
When do you want it?

in the crone’s shadow
fear for one’s self shrinks
only to lengthen for
loved ones yet — if ever — to be

the passion and idealism
in your veins
flows as a torrent
across time

each one of us
a momentary bend in a river
that scours out
a meandering truth.

© Linda Adair

Linda Adair is a poet, artist, as well as publisher of Rochford Press/co-editor of Rochford Street Review, Adair grew up on Darug country without knowing whose land she stood on. She now lives on Darug and Gundungarra lands in the Blue Mountains, Australia, and pays her respect to the Traditional Custodians of Country which always was, and always will, be Aboriginal. Her debut book The Unintended Consequences of the Shattering was published in 2020. Her poems have appeared in Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, P76 the Sonic Poetry Festival Issue, Ozburp, To End All Wars, Messages from The Embers, Poetry for the Planet, Pure Slush Volume 25 and Work! Lifespan Vol 5 as well as various journals. During a recent Varuna residency, she began working on a verse memoir of her family’s complex relationship to unceded land. She has been a featured poet at various venues including La Mama Poetica and a Sonic Poetry Festival event.

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