Perihelion: An Online Journal of Poetry and Mayhem
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Jane Gibian

seaside

Darling, are you happy? asks the pig-tailed waitress
collecting your empty cup back in the lukewarm light
of the inner west, your almost natural habitat, as
a girl with tax on her hand mooches past. Now
the coastal light is flamboyant, tossing its long blonde-

tipped mane; an attention-seeker sweeping away that
stale air of the recent past. The lustrous morning sun grabs
you again, pushing boldly into corners of illuminated dust.
Gravitating towards commerce outside, the glare cools in tone,
reflecting off the glass towers & concrete wind tunnels

that funnel batches of young men in suits with artfully tousled
hair & too much perfume, among them perhaps an aspiring
swedish model & former pizza-delivery boy; down to
the depths of the rank-smelling underground that neatly
removes your sense of direction, then the bleep of an sms

reminder: your tax return is due 31 Oct. On escaping the malls
there’s a half-pleasant smell shooting around: off-white
astringency, hay fever & a sweetness that’s just turning;
unnoticed, you imagine, by those in over-sized sunglasses
& slouch ankle boots, stepping over the junk of temporary lives

lining the streets: ditched appliances, clothing, a sagging couch.
The light polishes itself to a further sheen, hanging around
patiently in the art deco flats, a troupe of backpackers strumming
& stomping overhead. You’re not quite ready to turn over
the calendar page & here’s that exotic visitor, the sea breeze.