for Ashley McCarthy
From the ferry’s awning over the stern
two yellow lights settle
and lights across the water
along a road-thin line
Here, on a deck chair
(Jessie–if deck chairs could talk what would they say?)
under the trees of Cockatoo Island,
a soft neon emerges and starts up trunks.
Lights from planes bloom
slowly ascending fireworks
to disappear into cloud
and beams reappear miles ahead.
Another bloom of light lifts from the horizon
in this metronome of planes.
Gladsville Bridge joins the show
and draws long lines of manuscripts
in quiet determination
from the shadows of her greater sister bridges.
Within the cabin of a catamaran
well dressed women,
one in a red long-sleeved dress,
glide down the harbour.
Commuter ferries abound and alight.
A dinning ferry,
elegant in deck to ceiling windows,
enable waiters to walk across the water.
The night life brings out more technicolour
in a blazing Sydney Showboat.
The seagulls haven’t stopped–it’s their island.
Calls of comfort against the night.
Invisible fishing nylon crossed
even without the glint of sunlight
keeps the gulls overhead
for they know it’s there.
At 3.27am they’re quiet
and at 5:50am the first light fills my tent
with shapes and calls.
I hear a keen motorboat power by
and retract my eyes
from the unzipped flap of clear white day–
oddly flat for patterns have not yet been made by shadows.
The first plane I hear but cannot see for cloud,
and the next I catch light in a cockpit window.
Planes and seagulls
the same grey
one agile, the other fixed,
over a silver sheet of sea.