A prospect of little anon on an inner-city greensward

David Malouf

[This poem was first published in print in issue 2 of sugarcane in October 2018, which was made possible by the generous financial support of The Alumni Friends of the University of Queensland.]


An open lawn between stacks of highrise glass. An anonymous three-year-old, baresark, sleeveless, swerves to scatter a flock of resident topknots, discovers breath to repeat their cries and hunts them skyward, one, two, more — too many for his accounting.

He takes a break from his animal agency; reports to his fist as to a microphone, then changes tack and cries havoc on a scrawny slow-stepping, elegant-awkward sacred ibis, that instantly goes to pieces and scoots out of his path.

A world that’s given; he its chosen one, the darling of whoever it is, up there, out there, that is looking on and holds him

in provident affection.

A venture little Anon, over a lifetime of occasions such as this, unique but nowise special, will not recall.

The moment is his. Mine only at a distance, mostly of years, but also of accidental presence, and something — almost forgotten, maybe repressed — of self. I set it down for little Anon’s sake, since he’ll not do it.

The field of opportune opponents and companions, challenge, contest, fabulous beasts, is won. Nonplussed (the day is scarcely begun) he turns aside, consults his fist. What now? What next?


About the author: David Malouf is a distinguished Australian writer. An Open Book, a selection of his poems, was published by UQP in 2018.

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