Rico Craig's first poetry collection Bone Ink will be published in 2017 by Guillotine Press. Recent writing can be found in London Magazine, Cordite and Glasgow Review of Books. He has been shortlisted for the University of Canberra Poetry Prize and the Newcastle Poetry Prize. His poem 'Angelo' was awarded third prize in the Dorothy Porter prize by Meanjin.

Rico Craig

Goodbye, a premonition

The first voice we hear is blue flashing lights your mouth opens and sirens appear

Trains yellow-nose a hole in the summer storm every minute there's a tremor

If it rains hard enough rib bones flood from drains the cardboard city starts to melt

Eels flip on sidewalks and all we remember seeps from leaves

Night dogs yelp our indiscretions across the city's tiled back

Christians want to drag combs through our hair and coax us with saintly intercessions

Their words are a mouth in motion friend is a hand on the arm belief is the way you shape my name

Our vows are lifted from the menu at Happy Cup your smile comes in three flavours

We're hiding from rain clouds in our ears pinkies bound with sugar syrup

Saviours arrive in white smocks eager with motion first a van then the promise of a bed for the night

Hands flutter in front of your milk tea smile empty as a discarded cup

They tell me you have forgotten to breathe their fingers dial up the future

I don't remember the name you had before we met in this place

the letters they need to mark your position on a list

Make you another life floating electronic through space into sieved arms

Under the tracks we who remain scratch pictograms into cement

We're up against the pylons breaking soil for you

The dirt is loose so we dig fingers taut brothers and sister thigh to thigh

We hit the water table black sludge fingerprints worn smooth

Our bodies streaked in Botany black loam on our cheeks shovel hands digging us into silence

My writing is often a fragmented investigation of place and transformative moments in the lives of young people. "Goodbye, a premonition" comes from the western suburbs of Sydney, from places where there are roads passing over creeks, where sometimes the best place to be is under a bridge with people you love more than you'll ever love your family. And as you wait there, out of the rain, you know something will go wrong, and someone will try in an ineffectual way to help, and the only thing left after they fail is to build a memorial to the people who were hiding with you. This poem is digging down into the soil, trying to find a way to remember the people who hid with us.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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