Live Encounters Poetry & Writing February 2024.
Fervour, poem by Dominique Hecq.
At the Sacred Kingfisher Festival we danced to the beating of drums, our laughter rapturous and rebellious among the pinging of bellbirds. The air smelled of river mint wild myrtle and boronia as a red haze rose between us and the horizon line. In the bog garden we chased the wandering sun and you picked golden billy buttons and we kissed under the tessellated tower of my hair. Caped in your fake lion skin you said I reminded you of Castilla. Who is she, I asked in an intermixing of levity and seriousness. We ate steamed mussels and fried calamari, olives and hot peppers, octopus a feira and gazpacho. We drank tequila. Liked its hot spring in our bellies. We sucked on lemons and ice. Already my heart felt unparched, its chambers soft inside its suckering pericardium. You blew through the bushes and wetland bullrushes without a word like a bird or the wind itself.
Was it love’s fervency and desire we had interlaced, together?
I seek you everywhere through the grasslands and woodlands and shrublands. Through spiny headed mat rushes tufted bluebells sickle ferns and pussy tails. I tear trough spear grass and around patches of golden wattle silver banksia and swamp paperbark. At the curve in the creek where the river red gum stands I cut a heart out of its bark for a shield. The gum bleeds but I lash through wedge leaf hop bushes and rosemary grevilleas slashing punctuation save the arrhythmical lone period. For now.
I seek you in shoals of fish.
I seek you in clouds of bats.
I seek you in schoolings of tadpoles.
I seek you in murders of crows.
I seek you in the sturdiness of your name
I seek you in the word lover.
I find you in music and painting and poetry. I find you in myth and make you mine. Kneading words as one would dough beyond the trammels of the self where reminiscences and expectations deflate being and slowly I rise from its shell shaping what beckons like a promise.
I surrender to the sky like a flowering gum deploying its satin.
I reach for your hand and touch only a dream blossoming spikes.
Slowly. I rise from emptiness. Shaping what becomes a prayer.
You wave to me from outside the gleaming window when out of the blue a little kingfisher flies into the glass.
Look how stunned the bird is. How it shakes itself off from shadow sheen. And flies away.
© Dominique Hecq
Dominique Hecq is a widely anthologised and award-winning prose poet, fiction writer, essayist and translator. She lives and works on Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung land (Naarm / Melbourne). Her chapbook Endgame with No Ending won the James Tate Poetry Prize (2023, SurVision). The illustrated bilingual collection, Songlines / Pistes de rêve has just been released by Transignum. Volte Face is slated for June 2024 (Liquid Amber Press).