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The sting in a limbering spring day
foreshadows summer. Through her window
roses plait themselves together beside young-
leafed eucalypts as she, too ill to speak,
slowly becomes my eye in the clouds, the gap
I will see through. No one knows me better
than she who circled my first flight.


I’ve tried to prepare myself, remembering
her cyclopaedic mind, her gift for solutions.
My bird-mother. I reach out, hold her hands.


She slides down into sleep and wakes again
on this final island, where touch is more important
than words. She grimaces, begs for morphine . . .
Our world divides. We’ll fly differently now.

Published in The Review, Weekend Australian, 2006