Like the Girl in the cafe, this piece riffs on the work of another. This time, my inspiration is from David Foster Wallace and the opening sequence of his unfinished novel The Pale King. His poetic first sentence is something else.
Past the suburban chaos and false borders of ill-claimed land and past the bleak carpark with its tyrannic markers dictating the where and how and when, to the unsullied land where the ashen grey gums stand like noble soldiers ready to defend against intruding armies, their layout conforming to some invisible blueprint, awkwardly angled trunks their only concession to the sloping earth beneath them.
Discarded limbs scar the ground. No longer of use, prisoner to where they have fallen. Weathered grey stumps in varying stages of decay punctuate the spaces in between, their skeletons echoes of generations past. Sorrowful creaking as dead and dying trunks come together in an entangled embrace. New growth irregular in its appearance and defiant in its approach whispers resilience and renewal.
Overhead, leaves channel the breeze, a Mexican wave. Pockets of a muted blue sky appear. Monotone in palette and personality. Stippled brown butterflies burst in and dance their way across the land. They do not stop, there is nothing here for them.
Two magpies now. One ploughs the earth with her beak, intent. The other her shadow, its wailing practiced and manipulative. The perfume of jasmine, so faint it’s almost a memory.