Tent – Todd Turner

Pinned down dwelling place,
small abode. Windsock
weathervane, umbrella home.
Under the world’s orbit,
I lie lodged within tepee walls
as the night, lunar-bright,
comes quickening.
I wake and look out
through an eyelet no bigger
than a loophole.
Earth has turned its cheek
to the moon’s and the distance
blinks with a clot of stars.
I reach up and feel
for the switch
on the hanging lamp.
The air brightens with a click
then dims to a tarnished glow.
Out in the paddock
all four corners
of the ground have vanished
and the earth-melded sky
glints in a freeze-frame
of mica and aeon-blasted light.
I walk on toward the river
under the constellations
of spun glitter. Behind me
the tent is a mini haystack
silhouette. The blackened trees
and edgeless hills are all
but gone from view. I listen
to the long bowed heads
of horses ripping fattened tufts
from the earth. Their shoes
are loose and clackety
and they move with an easy gait.
Now the moon is above the river,
iridescent in its powdery shell,
sinking low on the horizon
and tiding in ripples downstream.
I keep watch, locked
to the tumbling current,
and imagine the hidden fish
coursing in snowmelt and silt.
Beneath them, the river
drags its stones over and over,
dredged and shovelled
along for an age,
submersed in a stony elixir.
Beyond the slow rising pools
the river meanders, spilling
its pebbles and shale.
On the banks a cold thin crust
forms over the grass. I hear
a crumbling beneath my boot soles.
I walk back to the tent
as the domed world sleeps.
The rain falls. I lie listening
to the petering bell of a cricket
and cling to its residual note.