Frances Rouse – Walking the Line

Rouse LE P&W Humour June 2024

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Special Edition on Humour June 2024.

Walking the Line, poem by Frances Rouse.

Walking the Line

(With apologies to Johnny Cash and Kevin Costner)

Of course it’s a highway;
no, make that a viaduct:
the yellow plastic tight-rope
stretched taut over ‘70’s jungle
of camellia, lagerstroemia,
acanthus, agapanthus,
salvia and via concretum;
paralleling, 300 metres east,
the ragged edge of Great Divide,
border between western Giabal
and eastern Jagara lands.

Now, as I hang the washing,
there is movement across my eyeline:
a multi-lingual patrol of ants –
(Paiamba, English, Latin? No probs) –
but without Multuggera
or Jeffrey Smart signs
to alternative Caminos,
steadily they must perambulate,
passing on to colleagues
handy hints for negotiating
miniature-high-rise pegs,
corrugations of towels,
cliff-edges of sheets,
and convolutions of bras …

After all, if you build it
they will come.

© Frances Rouse

Frances Rouse lives in Toowoomba, Queensland. Her poems have regularly appeared in Island, Overland, Meanjin, Southerly and Quadrant etc, and overseas journals. She was also The Sydney Morning Herald’s one-time poetry editor. Her short stories have also been published, radio plays broadcast, and a stage play received public readings Australia-wide, in Hawaii and New Zealand, and a production in Ukraine. After a period of family responsibilities, her poems have appeared in Red Room Poetry online, the collection “Goya en la Poesía (Zaragoza, Spain), and Antipodes (USA).

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